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October 21, 2012

Introducing the Climate Risk Brain

We have been discussing climate change in the public and corporate arenas for some 25 years; by now decision-makers have a virtually infinite amount of information available to them when it comes to the topics of climate science, mitigation, and adaptation.  Yet decision-maker perceptions of climate risk and climate risk management efforts lag far behind where scientists suggest they ought to be.

The problem is that simply presenting climate science and climate risk via a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation is not sufficient when it comes to a topic as complicated (in cause and in resolution) as climate change.  To be motivated to conclude that climate risk management is called for, decision-makers need to be able to affirmatively answer two key questions:

  • Is the problem “worth it” to the decision-maker?
  • Can the decision-maker succeed in addressing the problem, at least in the context of why addressing it was considered worth it in the first place?

Different decision-makers, however, will need very different kinds of information to be able to answer these questions to their satisfaction.  In a topic as complicated as climate change, a key challenge for corporate decision-making in particular is having the right information in the right format available to decision makers at the right time, accounting for the fact that different decision-makers are operating in different industry sectors and markets, with different policy environments, and with widely ranging forecasted climate change impacts.

The bottom line is that we generally have failed to appropriately help decision-makers answer these two key questions.  As a result, perceptions of climate risk and climate risk management have lagged.  Improving climate risk decision-making is as much a matter of managing available knowledge to make it accessible and usable to decision-makers, as opposed to generating new information.

The Climate Risk Management (CRM) Brain is a decision-support tool specifically designed to organize large amounts of climate change risk and risk management material in such a way as to supply the right information to the right decision-maker at the right time.  Based on innovative and publicly available Brain® software (www.thebrain.com), the CRM Brain currently uses 13,000 links between 10,000 individual “thoughts” to help decision-makers understand the nature of climate risk, forecasts of climate risk relevant to their geography sector, and climate risk activities being undertaken in their sector and by their competitors.  The information in the CRM Brain is derived from hundreds of publications, reports, news stories, and websites to make climate risk and risk management information easily and readily accessible.  Take a look at this more in-depth description, and contact us for a closer look:



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Laura Kosloff

Laura Kosloff is an attorney with more than 30 years of environmental and natural resources experience. She has worked on numerous topics including hazardous waste, environmental justice, water law, and climate change. Currently she focuses on legal and policy issues relating to energy, climate, and other resource issues facing companies and organizations, with a growing focus on risk communication. She has worked extensively on the design of greenhouse gas mitigation and offset policies, and participated in carbon offset negotiations and due diligence.

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