How Will Climate Change Impact Our Energy and Water Systems?

In this latest installment of the Climate Risk Podcast, we take a closer look at the financial risks associated with energy and water systems, and how these could change as the impacts of climate change increase.

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In this series, we have stressed the importance of risk professionals building up a holistic view of climate risk. This requires better understanding the complex and interconnected nature of key systems in the climate, economy and society.

In our previous conversation with Tim Lenton, an earth systems expert, we heard how thinking through climate problems at the systems level can help unlock key insights about feedback loops and tipping points, both of which are critical when attempting to navigate climate risks. This led us to reflect on the most fundamental factors at play in our global system, and when we did this, we found that you are never far from energy and water.

Indeed, energy and water are undoubtedly two of the most fundamental factors at play in our global system and are themselves highly interconnected. That’s why in today’s episode, you will hear from Michael Webber, one of the world’s leading thinkers on the subject of water, energy, and the risks generated by these complex systems.

Energy is central when thinking about climate risk through either the lens of our impact on the climate, or that of the climate’s impact on us. It is, after all, the exponential growth in the consumption of fossil fuels that has been the dominant driver of climate change. And we know that the transformation of the energy system will be a critical part of the response to climate change.

It is for these reasons that understanding energy, its interconnections with water, and their role in our broader systems has never been more important for risk professionals grappling with the implications of climate change.

This discussion will cover:

  • The interconnected systems of energy and water, and how these are being impacted by climate change
  • How to navigate the financial risk of these effects
  • How to move forward – the role of technology, data and disclosures
  • Key trade-offs and unintended consequences of action

If you have any questions, thoughts or feedback regarding this podcast series, we would love to hear from you. Please email us at: climateriskpodcast@garp.com

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Michael Webber – Chief Science and Technology Officer at global energy & infrastructure services company ENGIE and the Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources at the University of Texas at Austin.

Michael’s expertise spans research and education at the convergence of engineering, policy, and commercialization on topics related to innovation, energy, and the environment.

In addition to authoring more than 400 publications and serving on the advisory board for Scientific American, Michael has published two insightful books on the topic of energy. 2016’s Thirst for Power addresses the connections between earth’s most valuable resources and offers an approach toward a sustainable future. 2019’s Power Trip is also packed full of insights as we attempt to resolve the tension that exists between our growing demand for energy and its impact on the planet.

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