Mott MacDonald’s Denise Bower welcomes MPs report highlighting climate change as a major threat to national security and critical national infrastructure.
We welcome the latest report from the UK’s Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy - Readiness for storms ahead? Critical national infrastructure in an age of climate change - which focuses on climate change as a threat to national security and economic prosperity.
The report highlights the challenge of funding resilience. Globally, investment in resilience and adaptation lags well behind the financing of climate mitigation.
According to the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), total spending on climate finance during 2019-2020 reached US$632bn, with mitigation finance accounting for US$571bn compared to just US$46bn on adaptation and resilience; significantly less than what is required to meet the challenges posed by climate change.
There is significant work being done across the engineering, finance and climate sectors to address this, led by the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment, of which we are a member. A key contribution is the Physical Climate Risk Assessment Methodology, which provides the means for infrastructure owners, investors and other stakeholders to understand and assess their exposure to physical climate risks, develop and assess resilience options, and prioritise solutions for investment.
As noted by the Committee, analysis shows that investment in resilience brings with it benefit-cost ratios typically ranging from 2:1 to 10:1 in net economic gain. We have been working to address the growing threat posed by climate change for two decades. In our experience, resilient organisations withstand climate effects with less impact on service, revenue and profit than poorly adapted peers or competitors.
The report emphasises that critical national infrastructure is highly connected and interdependent. We support its recommendation that infrastructure owners, operators and investors address this. We would like to see a common set of tools, data, regulations and other mechanisms developed to improve inter-organisation and cross-sector risk management. We echo the Committee’s recommendation that information-sharing between sectors be formalised.
Climate change poses a major threat to our cities, communities and our way of life. We are committed to working with our clients, partners and government, to make our critical infrastructure more resilient. Building resilience is essential alongside the rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to net zero.
Denise Bower is executive director at Mott MacDonald.