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The new marketplace for adaptation: Climate change and opportunities for green economic growth


WASHINGTON, DC — Building preparedness for climate change can create incentives for new and expanded economic activity, help create jobs, and reinforce efforts to reduce emissions – all while saving lives, according to a new briefing paper released by international humanitarian organization Oxfam America today.

“Even with aggressive efforts to reduce emissions, the consequences of climate change will be severe. Increased temperatures, rising sea levels, and more intense droughts, floods, and storms threaten the existence of many communities— especially in developing countries,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser. “Many American firms stand to benefit from an increase in adaptation market opportunities that spur innovation and create jobs.”

“We see investments in adaptation as a win-win,” said Brian Bieron, Senior Director, Federal Government Relations and Global Public Policy, eBay. “Adaptation efforts that respond to more severe climate impacts at home and abroad can create new jobs and drive economic growth. They can also help developing countries cope with a changing climate.”

Sectors outlined in the briefing paper where early and rapid growth is more likely to include the following:

Water management: Demand is increasing for technologies that improve water use efficiency and help to ensure that growing need does not outstrip shrinking water supplies. Many American companies are already leaders in developing advanced water management technologies.

Agriculture: The need for agricultural solutions to feed a growing global population presents enormous business opportunities for American companies that are developing solutions like drought-resistant seeds, drip irrigation systems and innovative pest-control technologies.

Disaster preparedness: US firms have a broad range of technologies that can help prepare for and recover from hurricanes, cyclones, and other extreme weather events, from advanced forecasting systems and resilient building materials to portable backup equipment.

Coastal and natural resource management: More than 60 percent of the world’s population lives within 60 miles of a coastline, putting millions of people at risk as sea levels rise and we face increasingly severe storms and heavy rains. New technologies, such as forecasting equipment and construction techniques that strengthen homes against the effects of high water and wind, will protect coastal areas vulnerable to these impacts.

Insurance: Climate change will significantly increase the costs of insurance payouts for weather-related disasters over the coming decades. American expertise in areas like risk mitigation and financial innovation, drive growth in this sector.

Climate change information and consulting services: Consulting firms can help both the public and private sector to understand the threats posed by climate change and develop adaptation strategies.

“Investing in adaptation strategies, such as flood defenses and efficient irrigation systems, will lessen the impact of future natural disasters and drive economic growth by strengthening infrastructure and spurring the development of new technologies,” said Offenheiser.

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