Providing society with the tools to assess and manage climate-change risk
The ability to predict future risk can determine the value of actions taken today. For this reason, tools that quantify the impact of future risks are the basis on which insurance premiums are determined to cover a risk that may occur in one month, one year, one decade, or several decades.
However, locked-in climate change and non-stationarity introduces new factors that undermine risk management. They define a world with climate impacts that we will not be able to quantify using existing tools. This challenge is now clearly acknowledged by the investment community. In certain geographical locations, the impact of a changing climate is observable in ecosystems. In the case of agriculture this leads to changes in crop yields, variation in planting times and the increased need for irrigation and adaptation. In the case of native flora, it leads to unviable habitats and the migration of pests and diseases. The consequence of a drying signal on an area with an extensive forest ecosystem is, as we know all too well from Australia and California, the creation of excessive fuel loads (dry trees) and the emergence of extreme fire risk.
The NZI’s research into climate change risk is developing new tools to better quantify this risk. The research projects are: