Fahim Tonmoy (Australia) 1; David Rissik (Australia) 2
1 - School of Engineering and Built Environment, Griffith University, Australia; 2 - Senior Principal Climate Change Adaptation, BMT
Small businesses play a major role in local economies but are becoming increasingly vulnerable to climate extremes. Increased frequency and intensity of climate events as a result of climate change impact not only the physical assets of small businesses but also affect availability of their raw materials, impact staff, disrupt supply chains and affect customer bases. This is particularly challenging for climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, tourism, food & beverage, construction & trade etc. Similarly, households also face negative consequences from climate change. Increased extreme events can cause physical damage to properties leading to expensive repair costs and increased insurance premiums amongst a range of other consequences. On top this physical exposure to extreme events, the livelihoods of householders are also sensitive to extreme events.
Although these two groups, (small businesses and households) have very real but different priorities and challenges under climate extremes, they very rarely get engaged in climate change risk management conversation. This is partly because both groups have limited resources (time, technical expertise on climate science and risk management). Although a plethora of tools and data products are available to assess climate change risks, most are cumbersome, and difficult to navigate, and very few of them are get used by these two groups. This leads to limited understanding of climate change risks of these two critical groups of our society. We engaged with small businesses and households in Queensland, Australia and investigated their previous experience of climate extremes and associated losses, current awareness of climate risks, challenges they may have experienced with current risk management tools. We also asked about the potential scope of future risk assessment and the characteristics of a simple risk management tool that they would prefer. We developed and tested two simple risk management tools using these insights. Early outcomes are an increase in the knowledge and capacity of the users and a feeling that they are better prepared to manage the risk of current extremes as well as a future climate. The tool is simple and is that start of a climate adaptation journey for these two groups.