Geoffrey K. Willis is a partner in the Real Estate, Land Use and Natural Resources and Environmental Practice Group with Sheppard Mullin. With years of experience advising the private and public sectors, Willis understands the roadblocks that can keep many corporations from swiftly embracing the adaptation agenda, as well as the incentives that can help business overcome this “inertia.”
Very often, companies I advise come to us when they plan to invest and are looking for three things: certainty, stability and fairness.
Certainty: If you don’t know what your legal or regulatory requirement will be it’s very hard to know how your investments will turn out and what your infrastructure costs will be.
David Burwell, Director of the Energy and Climate Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, talks with GAIN about his organization’s work on adaptation, specific threats to the transport and energy sectors as well as how the GAIN Index points out the adaptation needs in countries such as Russia.
GAIN:How has your work on climate and energy evolved to include adaptation? How are mitigation and adaptation policies related?
David Burwell: It is clear that climate change is not just a threat for the future, it is a condition of every day life in the 21st century. You have to be involved in both mitigation and adaptation because the effects of climate change are happening already. We need to work to create awareness on climate change through adaptation, which then encourages more policies to mitigate.
A new consortium of government, academic and business representatives is forming to address adaptation in the U.S. state of New Jersey. The New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance is based in Rutgers University, and, among other projects, will support demonstration projects, identify data needs and develop policy recommendations. As Rutgers reports:
The Global Adaptation Institute’s (GAIN) Dr. Bruno Sanchez-Andrade Nuño published a commentary, “Más Acción, Menos Palabras,” in the Madrid-based daily newspaper, La Razón. Sanchez, Director of Science & Technology at GAIN, notes that in the wake of no clear path forward on tackling climate mitigation, concrete steps taken by world leaders attending the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting can harness the power of the private sector in helping those most vulnerable adapt to the challenges of climate change and other global forces: