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Global warming effect brings new business ideas and opportunities

During this winter everybody on the north hemisphere noticed that something is very wrong with the weather. In January trees and flowers start to blossom, birds that usually migrate to south to warmer climate begin nest building, ladybirds with ants crawl happily around and ski resorts in Europe offer hiking instead of skiing. It is all because of the unusually high temperature being more than 7ºC above average. The winter eventually arrived bringing fierce snowstorms in USA and hurricane-force winds in Europe.

The ever accelerating melting of glaciers proves that the Earth is gradually warming. There are many causes of the global warming like CO2 concentration, sun activity, Earth’s tilt, wobble and orbital eccentricity. The CO2 in the atmosphere is helping to trap the heat. There are at least two positive feedback loops that accelerate Earth temperature and CO2 rising and glacier melting.

1) Melting glaciers expose the dark Earth surface that absorbs more heat from the sunlight than white glaciers.
2) Frozen glaciers contain CO2 that gets released into the ocean and atmosphere when the glaciers melt.

Shall we blame natural fluctuations or human activity? Probably nobody will know the correct answer. One thing is sure; the human activity produces CO2 as well that helps to speed up the imbalances. The extent to which human activity influences CO2 changes with time because of the two loops. The loops are increasingly intensifying thus relatively decreasing the influence of human activity. It might mean that there is not much the humans can do to stop the global warming at this phase.

The global warming consequence was so far very kind to us humans because the ocean currents still work as they always used to. The currents bring rain or snow where otherwise drought would be. They cool down tropical areas and bring the heat for example to North America and North Europe. Everything is connected in the nature. The vast amount of fresh water discharged into the ocean as the ice melts threatens to shut down the Gulf Stream, which for example protects Northern Europe from a freezing climate like that of Labrador. The Gulf Steam is a part of the Ocean Conveyor Belt that works as a huge Earth thermostat. Shutting down the Gulf Streams changes Ocean Conveyor Belt and consequently global climate. The Gulf Stream has slowed and shut down several times in the past. Fossil evidence demonstrates that Earth’s climate can shift gears within a decade, establishing new and different patterns that can persist for decades to centuries. These climate shifts don’t have global effects but can generate a counterintuitive scenario: Even as the Earth as a whole continues to warm gradually, large regions may experience a precipitous and disruptive shift into colder climates. Last studies of the Gulf Stream already showed that the current is slowing down at increasing speed.

All human endeavour hinges on the vicissitudes of climate. Thus, the potential for abrupt climate change should prompt businesses to re-examine possible impacts on many climate-affected sectors. They include: agriculture; water resources; energy resources; forest and timber management; fisheries; coastal land management; transportation; insurance; recreation and tourism; disaster relief; and public health (associated with climate-related, vector-borne diseases such as malaria and cholera).

The climate changes are happening and many business people are already facing them. With rising temperatures the changes will accelerate and become more extreme. Due to a sheer complexity of the climate modelling it is not clear what regions will be effected and how. This kind of uncertainty makes future business planning complicated. It is going to be challenging and difficult but any difficulties always bring new opportunities. New consulting companies specialising in business risk forecast and management related to changing climate conditions are going to emerge. Those operating globally will reconsider the supply chain management and shifting customers’ demands. Those operating locally will have to find new suppliers and perhaps completely change the business. In some regions services or agriculture activities will not be appropriate anymore because of local climate change. In other regions huge demand for new services will have to be satisfied.

Those with vision, who foresee the coming changes, will have competitive advantage. Those still doubting, hesitating and waiting when things happen, would have to be satisfied with what is left.

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