The “2024 World Economic Forum (WEF)” has recently ended and the Special Address by António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, hopefully generated some concerns in the participants (video).
He said that, although 2023 was the hottest year ever recorded, it could well be considered one of the coldest according to the current trends of the world’s rising temperatures.
Mr Guterres also added the fossil fuel industry has just launched a new multi-millionaire campaign to slow down progress in order to keep oil and gas the main energy sources for still many more years.
With regard to the latter, despite being morally arguable, it is understandable from that industry’s point of view, whereas the former statement is quite worrying.
We all read and watch news about natural disasters happening worldwide every month and individually we can experience climate change effects.
I was born in Turin (NW Italy), close to the Alps, and I remember in the 1970s and 1980s it was a normal habit for the city inhabitants going skiing on the mountains on Saturdays and Sundays in Winter and spend the weekends on the seaside in Liguria (a.k.a. Italian riviera).
Then we entered the 21st century and these habits started changing. In the current days (the heart of Winter) there are +15’C on the Alpine ski resorts, skiing has become impractical where not impossible. The 0’C-level has increased up to 3,000 meters and this affects the entire touristic supply chain of these areas.
Conversely, during Summertime the Italian riviera often reaches 40’C making not only sunbathing, but also spending some time in the open air, hard to bear.
The other day I was talking with a friend of mine and we commented that in the next years we will have to go to the seaside in Winter and on the mountains in Summer and we believe the tourism industry should go through a dramatic and fast change, if they want to continue staying in the business.
Agriculture is also affected by extreme temperatures and some crops should be moved to Northern territories, otherwise they cannot be cultivated anymore.
The construction industry should also evolve and build houses more insulated and having roofs more resistant to hurricanes that have happened more frequently in Central and South Europe.
Road networks and Railways should be redesigned to cope with extreme temperatures. In the last years trains in the UK had to reduce their operational speed in Summer time as the high temperatures were affecting tracks and consequent safety.
Other examples showing the consolidation of climate change effects is the number of new insurance policies have been launched to protect businesses as well as the creation of a new term – “climate finance” – that is assessing the global economy. There is an interesting publication “Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2023” issued in Nov 2023 by the Climate Policy Initiative that provides many details on the climate change economy. It is very important to consider the “cost of inaction”: the longer we delay meeting total climate investment needs, the higher the costs will be, both to mitigate global temperature rise and to deal with its impacts.
It has been recently discovered that “The Roman Empire’s Worst Plagues Were Linked To Climate Change” however, I guess, in those days climate change was not anthropically destructive as we have now.
EPN Consulting and EPN Consulting Research and Innovation Founder & CEO