Utilities are unprepared for the effects of climate change: Study

More than 70 per cent of global electric utilities are ill prepared to face the effects of climate change even though almost every one of them is aware of the risks they face.

Those stark findings come from a report by Acclimatise, the consultancy, which was financially backed by IBM.

The climate change risks utilities face include, sudden weather-related power outages and the more gradual damage that shifts in climate does, reducing efficiency of plants and availability of raw materials.

And all this comes as many of the US and Europe’s most polluting power plants reach old age fragility, but are being worked hard to meet climate-change-driven demand for more and more electricity to power everything from air-conditions to electric cars.

Governments are aware of this looming clash. In the UK, for example, the government has the power to force utilities to report on their preparedness for climate change.

Companies are already reporting some of this voluntarily, as in the Carbon Disclosure Project. In fact, it is the 219 responses of utilities to this very project that form the basis of the above-mentioned conclusion.

There is, however, one thing to keep in mind when reading the study: while Acclimatise is well placed to asses the risks of climate change, it is equally well placed to profit from them as it is – in its own words – a management consultancy helping companies “to become resilient against the inevitable impacts of inevitable climate change.”

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