Diplomacy Lab

Business Case for Climate Change Adaptation:

Making The Case for Private Sector Investment in Resilience

In fall 2017, students in MSFS 604 Climate Science and Policy are working on projects for the Office of Global Change (OES/EGC) at the US Department of State to examine new models to increase private sector investment in climate resilience.


While the business case for climate change mitigation, shifting public and private sector  investment away from fossil fuel energy sources and towards cleaner energy sources, has become clearer over the last decade, it has been harder to make the case for investing in more climate-resilient infrastructure and more resilient supply chain management. While governments and companies increase funding for research and development in energy efficiency and improve the enabling environment for greener investments, there is less understanding of the policy reform and targeted investments needed to safeguard development gains in key economic sectors including agriculture, water resources management, industry, energy, etc. We know that public funding alone will not be enough to climate-proof these sectors against the anticipated, adverse impacts of climate change, including droughts, floods, storm surge and sea-level rise. As such, it is critical that the private sector recognizes, or is incentivized to recognize, the value of investing in increased resilience. In other words, we need to make the business case for climate change adaptation.

The main objective of this project is to identify actions the public government can take to incentivize the private sector to bring its strengths in identifying new business opportunities, creating new markets, and recognizing and managing risk, all of which are critical to ensuring resilient businesses and communities in the face of climate change.

Throughout the semester students are meeting with officials at the State Department and other experts working in the field of climate resilience around the world.