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Climate Adaptation: Big Headache, Big Expense

Verizon and McDonald's logosClimate adaptation is poised to provide big business for some companies – and a big expense for many others.

As this article at The Verge points out, construction firms – especially those that build flood defenses – and air conditioning manufacturers are expecting big gains as the number of severe storms increases and temperatures rise. And some companies are already footing the bill for massive adaptation projects: Verizon has contracted with Flood Control America to surround its New York headquarters with a nine-foot flood wall. The construction firm’s retractable steel walls start at $100 a square foot, but Verizon clearly knows the value of such products – another of its buildings suffered catastrophic flooding during Hurricane Sandy.

Air conditioning, too, could turn into a major business expense. Many parts of the US are still cool enough to get by without it, but as temperatures rise companies are likely to see employees’ productivity decrease. And ensuring that HVAC systems are well-maintained will increasingly become a matter of health and safety, as well as labor relations: last month, workers at a New York City McDonald’s walked off the job after their store’s air conditioning broke down, the Daily Mail and AP report. The heat index topped 107 at JFK Airport that day, pushing temperatures by the ovens to a brutal 120 degrees.

Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.

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