Countries must plan and implement radical changes to their production and trade processes, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). That’s because as as extreme weather events become more frequent, traditional ways of working could fail.

Taking action could see farmers adopting either novel crops, or alter methods for producing traditional food. Fishermen could move to new waters to work. Tourism infrastructure – often a valuable source of income to developing countries – may need to relocate to higher ground.

Developing countries have very limited resources to invest and upgrade the technology and infrastructure to manage such initiatives. The $50 billion allocated to these projects under the Paris agreement is likely to be too low, said WEF. “Actual needs range between $130-300 billion annually by 2030, and between $280-500 billion annually by 2050,” it said.

Developing countries

Developing countries tend to be hardest-hit by extreme weather. Mozambique, Zimbabwe and the Bahamas bore the brunt of extreme weather events in 2019, according to German Watch. However Japan and India also suffered significant economic and human loss during the same period.

While the report only looks at the impact of extreme weather events, rather than the longer-term effects of slower change. However, it calculates that between 2000 and 2019 over 475,000 people lost their lives as a direct result of more than 11,000 extreme weather events globally. Financial losses amounted to around $2.56 trillion (in purchasing power parities).

“The global COVID-19 pandemic has reiterated the fact that both risks and vulnerability are systemic and interconnected,” the report said. “It is therefore important to strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable against different types of risk (climatic, geophysical, economic or health-related).”

Take action

Risk managers have an opportunity to contribute to the fight against climate change (see, Time for action: risk managers’ role in climate change , Enterprise risk, Winter 2020). Now IRM and Imperial College London and the Grantham Institute have joined forces to deliver climate change course specifically to help risk mangers hone their skills in this fast-changing area.

The course will be delivered virtually over two days with three hours of live sessions via Zoom.

Senior IRM member Carol (Ouko) Misiko, CMIRM, contributes to the WEF Global Risks Report on behalf of the IRM and says: “The IRM’s recent Global Risk Predictions highlights how climate change will impact every business and that now is the time for action ahead of COP26.”

Members can find more details and sign up for the course here.