Chances are you have encountered a climate change skeptic. These are the people at parties and in the workplace who comment on the beautiful weather and say, “climate change, bring it on.”
It would be helpful if you were armed with a few climate change facts to push back on this.
“It’s the coldest winter ever! So much for climate change!”
This comment is one you might hear in your friendship group, at a party, or in your workplace. The sentiment goes a long way to establishing the general ambiguities around climate change since most people take their data from the day-to-day weather conditions in particular seasons.
However, there is a difference between “weather” and “climate change.” The weather fluctuates on a daily basis, but climate change refers to long-term trends. Naturally, the two overlap - a warming climate impacts weather conditions - but it is simplistic to conflate the two dynamics.
“Climate change is natural; it’s been happening forever!” It’s true that earth is a dynamic and changing planet in the solar system, and that has been the case long before plants, animals, and humans began to evolve. When we look at the history of the planet, it’s clear that there have been periods of extreme warming and cooling over time.
The trouble is that periods of warming coincide with increased greenhouse gas emissions - these are measured with ice core samples and atmospheric research. The planet can sustain life due to CO2 absorption, but humans are releasing harmful gases back into the atmosphere.
“Even scientists can’t agree if climate change is real!”
For a long time, there was not a complete consensus in the scientific community on the progress of climate change. A few climate change skeptics attributed the planet’s warming to changes in the temperature of the sun or natural fluctuations in the planet’s core temperature.
Today, with an already 1.2-degree temperature increase above pre-industrial levels, there is complete consensus amongst the scientific community that climate change is a real threat. Looking at the current data and trends, it’s clear to everyone human activity is to blame.
“Plants, people, and animals can simply adapt and evolve.”
Plants, people, and animals are adaptable organisms, but that doesn’t mean they can adapt to a rapidly changing climate - especially not frogs. Frogs are used as a bio-indicator for climate change as their delicate skin and reliance on external factors make them sensitive to changes.
Sadly, frog numbers are in rapid decline as global temperatures rise and their habitats dry up. Sure, humans might be able to build domes to live in or migrate to another part of the world, but it’s not the case for everyone or the majority of life on earth that relies on optimal conditions.
“Climate change is beneficial to people and the planet.” There are some skeptics that even say climate change is good for us! Climate change reduces winter deaths, energy bills and makes winters more pleasant. Of course, the other side of this is the mass migrations, animal extinctions, and deaths. On balance, a hotter planet is detrimental.
Climate change is top of the agenda for some businesses; for others, it is somewhere near the bottom of a checklist, and the majority of businesses sit somewhere in the middle. All businesses need to start talking about climate change to protect revenue and build resilience.
Why are Climate Conversations Important?
Climate conversations can be challenging, especially when business as usual appears to operate like clockwork, but unless businesses face the stark truth - that current business models will be outdated in the medium term - their businesses will face shaky and uncertain futures.
At the moment, there are no government restrictions in place for reducing commercial emissions to meet Net Zero, but that is unlikely to be the case for much longer. Not only that, public demand for greener businesses is increasing, so there is a commercial incentive to take action.
How Does Climate Change Affect Our Business?
It’s clear that climate change will affect businesses of all shapes and sizes, but how will it affect your business, in particular? Firstly, businesses of all kinds will be affected by the rising energy costs and disruptions to supply chains caused by extreme weather, but there’s more to consider.
Climate change is likely to affect energy prices, supply chains, raw materials, and consumer demand. The effects of climate change might also influence the location of a business, the personnel, and the working practices. Ensure you have the right conversations for the business.
What are the Benefits of Taking Action?
Currently, the global climate change conference is held annually to accelerate the protocol needed to achieve Net Zero by 2050; but governments around the world have yet to implement restrictions. Many businesses are not waiting to be told; they are making changes today.
Staying ahead of the curve on climate change is good for business. Consumers respond to genuinely green business practices, and early changes can make a business more resilient to future shocks. Having the right conversations and taking action can safeguard the business.
What Action can we Take Within Our Business?
Climate change will affect businesses in different ways; some will need to adapt their supply chain, while others will need to change the raw materials for their products. But climate change will also affect businesses across the board thanks to energy prices and transport issues.
When it comes to climate change, there is always action you can take within the business. Start a future conversation with managers and employees, and create a list of objectives and priorities for action on climate change. Try to have climate action working in the background.
Further Resources on Future Conversations
When it comes to the issue of climate change, it is sometimes easier to put your head in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening, but climate change is already affecting the planet as well as businesses around the world. If you don’t know where to start with climate change conversations, consider a facilitated workshop to get your business moving in the right direction.
Here’s a collection of some of our articles which have been in our newsletters or published elsewhere.