Climate Action Tipping Points (CATPs) are transitions between business-as-usual futures and the lower-carbon futures scientists have demanded to avoid dangerous climate change. Most discussions of climate business risk assume that climate policy will lead to such alternative futures — but most corporate planning today implicitly assumes the opposite, or assumes that CATPs will only be tripped so far in the future so as to be irrelevant today. The contradiction between these views of the future is the elephant in the room of today’s corporate climate risk and opportunity management. Business decision-makers will need to choose in order to tell a credible risk management story, particularly in light of many observers’ suggestion that 2012 may turn out to have been the beginning of a Climate Change Tipping Point.
Climate change tipping points usually refer to physical tipping points (e.g., an ice-free Arctic) that scientists suggest will signal a substantial change in the speed, magnitude, or impacts of climate change. Climate Action Tipping Points might follow soon after climate change tipping points, but from the standpoint of business risk they differ significantly. The tripping of CATPs will result from the interplay of many political, policy, economic, technology, and social variables. Like so many other financial and policy tipping points in the past, CATPs will be difficult to anticipate, but will seem obvious in hindsight.
The Climatographers’ Climate Action Tipping Point Services help decision-makers understand and visualize this elephant in the room. Even though CATPs can’t be predicted, recognizing the elephant in the room can help companies better hedge risks and be better positioned for opportunities. The Climatographers’ CATP Score, for example, helps decision-makers track whether the CATPs of most concern to them are receding in probability or drawing nearer and thus require anticipatory action.
Note: The DebateGraph embedded above explores Climate Action Tipping Points. You can contribute to it by creating your own DebateGraph account.