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climate change

The world spent $50 billion dollars per year on weather-related disasters in the 1980s, according to the World Bank. Today, we spend roughly $200 billion annually. Twenty-five extreme weather and climate events in 2011 and 2012 caused more than $188 billion of damages in the United States alone. And yet—despite these escalating costs and risks—the world continues to emit dangerous amounts of greenhouse gases.

It’s time for a climate change reality check.

In the State of the Union address last night, President Obama called to make this “a year of action.” Addressing climate change will require his administration to make that call a reality.

The most important task the administration can take is to set greenhouse gas emissions standards for existing power plants—a move that the President highlighted in his speech last night. Ambitious power plant standards are a critical starting point if the United States is to rise to the climate change challenge.

When President Obama addresses the nation later today, climate change is expected to be featured. The president recently said that one of his personal passions is “leaving a planet that is as spectacular as the one we inherited from our parents and our grandparents.” The next two years will determine if his administration can meet this standard.

From the GHG Measurement Frontline

A Synthesis of Non-Annex I Country National Inventory System Practices and Experiences

National greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory systems are complex but critical for meeting international reporting requirements and informing domestic low-carbon strategies and goals. This paper uses examples from five countries to discuss emerging good practices for the development of sustainable...

As we recap in our extreme weather timeline below, this year saw a range of catastrophic events—from Typhoon Haiyan causing more than 6,000 deaths in the Philippines, to severe drought in California, to raging wildfires in Prescott, Arizona. A new report shows that 2013 ranks as the fourth-warmest year on record (tied with 2003). And this December marks the 346th consecutive month with global average temperatures above the 20th-century average.

New research from the World Resources Institute scores water-related risks facing 180 countries and 100 river basins. This is the first national-level data of its kind, evaluating competition for available water supplies, annual and seasonal supply variability, flood occurrence, and drought severity.

The data paints a country-level picture of water risks, information that is clearly relevant for national policymakers. But this research also holds huge implications for the private sector—particularly for shareholders and investors, corporate operations, and corporate supply chains. Multinational businesses should take notice—and take action.

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