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Is 20 the new 100?

Extreme weather trends and climate forecasts suggest so

Welcome to spring and to the official launch of CCAP’s new blog, Weathering Climate Risks! We will focus on corporate and urban preparedness for extreme weather and climate change, emphasizing risk management, critical infrastructure and the economics of preparedness. On with today’s installment.

It’s said that 60 is the new 40, and 50 is the new 30. With active lifestyles, better nutrition and modern medicine, people are living longer, more fulfilling lives. But our modern lifestyles appear to be invigorating the weather too.  In a recent study in Nature Climate Change, researchers at MIT and Princeton found that under moderate climate change scenarios a so-called “100-year” storm surge in New York City could occur every 3 to 20 years, and 500-year floods could recur every 25 to 240 years. Reinforcing these projections, a new study in Environmental Research Letters comes to similar conclusions.

And, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), severe weather in the US caused more than $50 billion in damages in 2011, a year that saw record-breaking extreme weather across the country (e.g. heat, drought, wildfire, rainfall, flooding). Many cities and companies are starting to wonder whether recent extreme weather events represent the “new normal.”

A number of leading companies and cities have started to “Ask the Climate Question” and have come to the conclusion that being prepared pays. For example, New York City is conducting in-depth analyses of its vulnerabilities and opportunities to increase preparedness. The Entergy Corporation has approached extreme weather from a bottom-line perspective looking to protect its assets and operations while bolstering the economy and quality of life in the communities where Entergy provides electricity. (See our blog entry from Monday for more information about Entergy.)

With these mounting challenges and inspiring examples in mind, CCAP is launching a new initiative, Weathering Climate Risks Advancing Corporate and Community Preparedness. We will be conducting research and writing papers (economics of preparedness, best practices) and engaging two communities to help manage the risks of extreme weather while preparing for economic prosperity in the face of a changing climate.

Watch this blog for more information on the practicalities and economics of preparedness and risk management from CCAP and our partners. We encourage your input on innovative approaches, key studies and news to know. Please enter your email below to subscribe to CCAP’s blog.

For more information, please contact Steve Winkelman, Director Adaptation and Transportation Programs, Leila Surratt, Manager Corporate Climate Dialogue or Chuck Kooshian, Senior Policy Analyst.

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