After a summer in which climate records were again broken, the question of the resilience of economic activities and investments in a changing climate arises. France must quickly adopt a reference warming trajectory to encourage public and private actors to anticipate and prevent risks.
After June 2023, which was among the hottest ever recorded in France, the summer was mild for most French people. We did not have a repeat of the summer of 2022 across the territory. But Europe and the rest of the world experienced a very different summer with record temperatures in many countries; globally the hottest June and July on record; fires in Greece, Canada, Tenerife and Hawaii; floods in China.
The heat wave at the end of August in the southern half of France is an impetus. We will need to drastically reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the impacts of future climate change. And at the same time adapt the infrastructure, buildings, industrial and agricultural activities in France and Europe to the climate that has already changed and will change.
Economic entities – public authorities, companies, households – must therefore adapt… but to what? We do not know exactly the rate of future warming, which still depends on our future emissions, but also on the emissions of our neighbors.
Making decisions that are robust, if not optimized, requires assessing the consequences and risks for different possible climate futures. And integrate this information into decision-making, especially in investment decisions in long-lived assets that will inevitably be affected by climate change.
Adapt, but to what?
This is the only way to avoid spending public or private money on objects unsuitable for possible climatic conditions in the future: buildings that ignore summer comfort; oversized or undersized infrastructure due to the risk of flooding; or even industrial or agricultural activities requiring water in an area where it might be lacking.
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