Effect of Environmental Change on International Business

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EFFECT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE ON INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Climate change should be seen as the greatest challenge facing man. – Prince Charles(3)

The world we live in today has an ever-changing climate. One years weather cannot be used to predict the next ones’. The weather is volatile. It does things that would not seem possible a few years ago. This is because a few years ago global warming had not made as big an impact as it has now. Global warming is one of the most pressing issues today. And although the media shows us very often all the dangers it brings to our lives, it often forgets to portray the catastrophic results it has on business’ worldwide and the global economy as we know it today.

This essay will try and explain how climate change will affect businesses, the risks and opportunities for various businesses, suggestions as to how businesses should cope with the new climate, both at community and global levels.

In order to prepare themselves for what’s coming to them in the form of climate change, business’ must have an idea as to what kind of changes there will be and the accuracy of these predictions are crucial. Because of this, businesses rely on environmental scientists who have a rather accurate method of predicting the weather. And although there are critics who say this information cannot be trusted, statistics speak for themselves. The world is getting hotter. Due to the 30% increase of CO2 since the 1900’s, the Earth’s temperature has gone up 0.7’ Celsius. This may not seem much, but the polar ice caps melting, countries having longer summers and shorter winters, and other changes heavily affect businesses worldwide. And although there is speculation that the causes for these changes could be natural, like super volcanoes which are 10,000 times stringer than regular volcanoes, the widely agreed answer is that we our ruining our environment.

The effects of climate change could prove to be positive or negative to a business, depending on the industry it belongs to. Where some industries may get ruined and have to close down because of environmental change, some may actually see a rise in profits. For example in the North of Europe, some ski resorts are seeing a considerable drop in the number of customers due to less snow on the mountains, but on the south coast, the beaches are seeing a rise in the number of vacationers due to warmer climate and longer summers. But the truth is, that even though some industries are benefited, the majority of industries will feel the adverse effects of global warming.

The amount a business will get affected by climate change varies from business to business, but every single business will get affected without doubt. A business like travel agencies will get affected greatly because they directly depend on the climate to function. But an industry that poses a greater threat to the common man is the power industry. The amount of power needed will greatly vary in the coming years. If a place is experiencing hotter summers power requirements for air conditioning will shoot up. California is already experiencing a record high need for power this year. This in turn affects the power supplying industry. Power is created today with the burning of fossil fuels more than renewable sources. Fossil fuels are basically natural resources that can be burned to provide energy. The problem is that natural resources are depleting, the planet is running out of oil and petroleum and the likes. And the need to begin using renewable sources of energy such as solar or wind or water powered energy is becoming greater by the day. (4)Nuclear energy is a step forward from burning fossil fuels, but is very dangerous. Even if controlled properly climate change can be destructive on it. For example in August 2003, France had to shut down most of its nuclear power plants because the cooling system could not function due to a heat wave, which swept the country. Also in India during...
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