Agencies are institutionalizing climate resiliency by linking climate action to their missions, future-proofing critical infrastructure, embedding environmental justice in their programs, collaborating with public and private partners to unlock collective action, and enhancing their data analytics capabilities to prepare for future climate disruptions.
- Lessons learned from the COVID-19 response have underscored the need for greater resilience in the face of disruption, whether it comes from climate, public health, or other causes.
- The increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events3 has instilled a sense of urgency within the public sector.
- Frequent disruptions to operations, supply chains, and human lives are compelling broader climate action.
- The cost of inaction is too high from an economic, social, and continuity of operations perspective.
- Investments in climate adaptation can create jobs and spur significant economic growth.
Trend in action
A climate-resilient agency has a greater ability to pursue its mission in the face of climate-related disruptions and to protect individuals and communities from the adverse effects of climate change.
Consider the mobility sector. Disruptions to the transportation network during extreme weather events not only affect the movement of goods and people but also limit access to employment and critical services such as health care. To mitigate future disruptions, Great Britain’s national railway manager, Network Rail, is working to improve its climate resilience. In response to projections of increased rain and flooding over time, Network Rail has implemented an integrated draining management policy and is investing in drainage systems along key routes to protect the infrastructure from flooding and to minimize climate-related disruptions to passenger transport.4
Linking climate to the mission
Climate change is increasingly shaping agency missions at all levels—central, regional, and local. In the coming decades, it could significantly alter the operational landscape and may compel some agencies to rethink entire programs. Government entities must understand and embrace how climate change affects their missions—and act in a way that both aligns with and advances their objectives.
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has linked climate resilience to its mission, noting that temperature extremes, rises in sea levels, and extreme weather events increasingly damage military installations, impair military capabilities, create harsher operational conditions, and fuel global instability and conflict. Acknowledging climate change as an existential threat to national security,5 the DoD has released a climate adaptation plan to future-proof military installations, build a climate-ready force, secure supply chains against extreme weather events, and inculcate climate-informed decision-making.6
Investing in societal resilience
Governments are also increasingly investing in resilient infrastructure, enhancing the capacity of the community to withstand extreme weather events, and ensuring that disadvantaged communities aren’t left to face climate-related risks on their own. The cost of waiting can be extreme; note the US$32 billion cost that Indonesia is expected to incur to move its capital away from Jakarta, one of the world’s fastest-sinking cities.7
In September 2021, Deloitte’s State of the Consumer Tracker surveyed 23,000 people across 23 countries. Nearly half of respondents had directly experienced at least one climate event in the past six months.8