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Why Sea Level Rise Matters to Business

The Association of Climate Change Officers has published two white papers that focus on the challenges and opportunities of addressing sea level rise related risks in the public and private sectors.

Sea Level Rise Adaptation in the Public Sector: Challenges, Solutions and Opportunities, says climate-change related sea level rise presents an array of challenges and opportunities to coastal cities and towns in the United States and worldwide.

Along the northeast coast of the US in particular, sea level is projected to rise at rates three to four times faster than the global average due to local variations in ocean circulation, salinity, and temperature.

If the US continues with business as usual, between $238 billion and 507 billion worth of existing coastal property nationwide is likely to be below sea level by 2100, the report says.

The second report, Rising Above the Seas: SECing Materiality Through the Corporate Lens, says businesses should not ignore climate risks due to the increased frequency of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts and sea level rise.

Business continuity is a familiar concept to corporations that has traditionally encompassed planning and preparation for disruptive incidents and disasters, such as fires and earthquakes. The report says businesses should include climate risks in such planning and preparations.

Global disasters related to the weather offer significant opportunities for companies positioned to help clients prepare for the consequences of climate change, according to a report published last month by Environmental Business International.

In its report, EBI looks at how service providers are positioning their companies to work in this sector and also at the challenges involved in pioneering adaptation work.

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