The Climate Web
for Climate Advisors
The Climate Web was launched more than a decade ago to support the delivery of climate change management consulting services by the Climatographers, the first advisory firm in the U.S. focused on business climate risk (founded in 1991 as Trexler Climate & Energy Services, “TC+ES”). The Climatographers have worked with companies around the world, in the U.S. ranging from PaciCorp and Nike to Stonyeld Farm, Chevron, and United Technologies, on projects ranging from the first carbon footprints and carbon offsets to building the first carbon pricing model, winning the first emissions-based facility siting proceeding, and carrying out some of the earliest climate risk scenario planning.
Twenty years ago, companies would send employees to TC+ES for a 2-day series of business and climate change briengs using an enormous Powerpoint deck. At that time, the business and climate change conversation could be summarized and communicated in that way. That is no longer the case.
In 2011, when Simon Dietz of the London School of Economics planned to teach a climate change risk management course for business executives, he could not find the right textbook for the course. The Climatographrs’ Mark Trexler, then Director of Climate Risk at the global risk firm of DNV, based in Oslo, Norway, and Laura Kosloff, an environmental attorney with decades of climate experience, were commissioned to write the textbook. It was published by DoSustainability Publishers in 2012 under the title The Changing Prole of Corporate Climate Change Risk, and was followed in 2013 by Adapting to Climate Change – 2.0 Enterprise Risk Management.
Today it is no longer possible for a conventionally created book, no matter how comprehensive or frequently updated, to remain on top of the ever more numerous and complicated business conversations relating to climate change and climate risk. Soon after publishing the textbook, the Climatographers started creating the Climate Web as a business decision-support tool for managing the growing flood of business-relevant climate information. Today it is the closest thing to a collective climate change intelligence.
The Climate Web utilizes an innovative commercial knowledge management software called TheBrain. To provide you with insight into how TheBrain might normally be used, here is an example:
The Climate Web takes advantage of TheBrain’s unique ability to curate almost infinite amounts of information into useful patterns and combinations, but for the specific purpose of understanding and tackling climate change. It breaks down the numerous silos that tend to characterize work on climate change.
As such, the Climate Web is uniquely positioned to advance the work of climate consultants, law firms, and other advisors, both in tracking the massive number of relevant climate change conversations, and in delivering climate-related products and services. The Climatographers are happy to collaborate in such efforts, but the Climate Web can also be used on a stand-alone basis, leveraging the more than 25,000 hours of expert knowledge curation, analysis, and synthesis by the Climatographers it currently represents.
This Advisory Climate Site does not cover everything the Climate Web can do, how it is built, or the variety of ways different audiences can leverage its content. All that information is available through other Climate Site links to the right of this page. This Advisory Climate Site focuses narrowly on how the Climate Web can support the work of consultants, lawyers, and other advisors in working with their clients on climate change issues.
The Climate Web utilizes more than 3,500 Index Entries and more than 2,500 Topical Headings to organize tens of thousands of books, reports, journal papers, PPTs, news and opinion pieces, websites, videos, and more. But that’s just for starters, since the Climatographers then individually extract thousands of graphics and ideas from those materials, organizing them into hundreds of fit-for-purpose actionable knoweldge collections. The videos just above introduce you to some of those capabilities, and the pages at top right give you a first hand view by allowing you to access resources in the Climate Web itself. But note, as discussed below, that accessing the on-line and open-access Climate Web in this “one-off” manner is sub-optimal at best.
In terms of taking advisory advantage of the Climate Web, the most obvious options include:
Utilizing the Climate Web as your own climate change research department, continuing to leverage the time the Climatographers spend every day in expanding and improving the Climate Web. This option involves purchasing Premium Access to the Climate Web, and downloading a read-only copy or copies of the Climate Web. Premium Access is currently available for a one-time fee of only $999, with significant discounts for additional licenses. It’s hard to imagine getting 25,000 hours of climate knowledge curation, plus an FTE equivalent business climate risk researcher on an ongoing basis, for a one-time cost of $999, but that is the case until we move to an annual subscription model. Note that you can even use the FREE version of TheBrain software to use the Climate Web via Premium Access. In addition, the Climatographers can train select staff in becoming super-users that can in turn support internal teams.
Leveraging the Climate Web to build your own customized climate change knowledge management system. You can purchase topical slices of the Climate Web, or a copy of the entire Climate Web, and then transform it into your own fully modifiable internal knowledge management system. Topical slices start at less than $500, and a copy of the entire Climate Web costs less than the equivalent of $1/hour for the time spent building it. Here too the Climatographers can provide super-user training, and can help you restructure the entire knowledgebase as desired. TheBrain software makes that process remarkably easy.
Teaming with the Climatographers to deliver climate change advisory services utilizing the Climate Web. This might expand the scope of services you can offer, and is an extremely cost-effective option as compared to re-creating the wheel internally.
These options are described in more detail below.
Premium Access lets you download a read-only copy of the Climate Web, offering key advantages over on-line open-access:
Utilize the more powerful desktop and mobile versions of TheBrain software, resulting in a huge increase in Climate Web speed, convenience, and functionality.
Climate Web updates are pushed through to your read-only copy, in effect representing more than an FTE of ongoing climate research, constantly showing up in your
You have the ability to do limited personalization of your read-only copy, and the Climatographers can help with additional personalization that then gets pushed through to you.
Take instant advantage of the more than 700 Topical Dashboards in the Climate Web, each representing from hours to weeks of knowledge curation. For technical reasons, these Dashboards are not easy to use in the on-line Climate Web.
See the pages at the upper right for sample collections of the kinds of resources that become instantly navigable with Premium Access.
The Climate Web encompasses almost unlimited information relevant to understanding and tackling climate change, but the Climatograophers recognize that users may want to be able to re-organize the information most relevant to them and their topics of interest, and then continue to develop their own fit-for-purpose knowledge management system.
As avid advocates of knowledge management, the Climatographers are happy to support your objective of customizing your climate change knowledge management. To that end, we have made it possible to inexpensively purchase topical "slices" of the Climate Web that include everything in the Climate Web about a given topic, generally representing from hundreds to thousands of hours of knowledge curation. For an example, see our Carbon Offsets Knowledgebase. You can also purchase a variety of Climate Web slices here. If you don't see the topic (or topics) in which you are interested, we can easily create that particular “slice” or set of slices. Just contact us (information below).
Alternatively, purchasing a full copy of the Climate Web is an amazingly cost-effective way to launch a climate change knowledge management system that can then be quickly and easily modified based on your needs. This option basically gives you a 25,000 hour head start on your knowledge management system. The Climatographers are happy to support your system going forward, but it’s not required. Purchase your copy of the Climate Web here. The Climatographers can also provide Super User training to selected staff, who can then guide the rest of your organization in utilizing and leveraging your new knowledge management system.
The Climate Web is structured to support the delivery of a variety of specific management consulting services when it comes to climate change risk and risk management. The Climatographers are happy to work with advisors to deliver such services, including:
Decision makers of all kinds and at all levels are constantly balancing the priority they assign to competing problems and opportunities. Any addition to the corporate “priority list” has to be considered sufficiently important to the organization’s mission or values by management. When it comes to climate change, the critical question is: “Does climate change pose material risks or opportunities that as an organization we can’t afford to ignore, or that as an organization we want to pro-actively engage upon?”
In many cases, the answer to this question will vary depending on an organization’s vulnerability to the potential physical, policy, market, and other impacts of climate change, as well as the organization’s sensitivity to risk. The Climate Web makes it a lot easier to answer these questions regarding the materiality of climate change.
A Climate Risk Rapid Materiality Assessment (RMA) is a resource-effective way using the Climate Web to assess the “materiality” of climate change to an organization’s goals and risk management objectives. The result is a quick but comprehensive assessment of climate risks and actionable conclusions for decision-makers. The RMA is carried out using the expertise of company staff.
A Rapid Materiality Assessment Case Study: Working with an equipment manufacturer in the oil and gas industry, the Climatographers initially encountered an RMA situation in which a sizable fraction of the company’s participants in the project didn’t accept climate change science. (The company had recently been acquired by a European company, which mandated the RMA.) The company team involved in the RMA project was understandably skeptical of the whole idea of a Climate Risk RMA. But after just three one-day workshops spread over three months, the team's participants concluded that the “materiality” of climate risks was real and strongly advised management to adopt a strategic response.
Management gurus have long advised business leaders to frequently reevaluate their core business assumptions. Business books are full of case studies of the bad things that happen when companies fail to heed that advice. As noted by scenario planning expert Kees van der Heijden, for example:
“ . . . in times of rapid change the large well-run companies are in particular danger of suffering from strategic failure, caused by a crisis of perception….[because of] the inability to see an emergent reality by being locked inside obsolete assumptions.”
Today, business leaders are being told to incorporate climate change risks and opportunities in their planning and decision-making. But these are relatively new topics for many business decision-makers, and all kinds of underlying assumptions are in play when it comes to:
- Climate change itself
- The business materiality of climate risks and opportunities
- The economics of climate change and climate change mitigation
- The changing probabilities of extreme events and business disruptions
- The timing of potential climate change and climate policy tipping points
- The likely evolution of climate policies and measures
- How climate risks will play out at the sectoral level
These are complicated and rapidly changing topics. It should not surprise anyone that many decision-making assumptions about climate risks and opportunities don’t reflect the best available information. An Assumptions Audit can help company decision-makers make sure they are taking advantage of the best available information when it comes to climate risk assessment, climate strategy development, or climate scenario planning. The Climate Web is specifically structured to facilitate Assumptions Audits.
An Assumptions Audit Case Study: A Japanese electric utility had done an internal analysis of climate risk. It had arrived at a "worst case" estimate of risk to the company’s financial bottom line. The Assumption Audit suggested different ways to look at several of the key assumptions they were making. The company ended up revising several key assumptions and increasing estimated bottom-line risk 7-fold.
Climate change scenario planning was not a common business response to climate change until recently. Some sectors routinely deploy scenario planning as pioneered by Shell Oil in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until companies felt growing pressure from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) that climate scenario planning has become mainstream. But there are plenty of outstanding questions for organizations looking to carry out climate scenario planning:
- Are there different approaches to climate change scenario planning?
- Why pursue scenario planning, and with what objectives?
- How far out do you have to look, using which scenarios?
- Is the primary audience internal (e.g., management) or external (e.g., investors)?
- How much will scenario planning cost?
- How much staff and management time will it consume?
There are no one-size-fits-all answers to any of these questions. A narrow and constrained scenario planning process may be more valuable to one company's decision-makers than a comprehensive and more costly scenario planning exercise; another company may benefit from just the opposite. Much depends on the organization, its goals and needs, how it makes strategic decisions, and its decision-making environment.
The Climate Web contains thousands of hours of knowledge curation relevant to these and other questions. It can support scenario planning in a wide variety of contexts.
Scenario planning is a great tool for bounding future climate risks and opportunities. What scenario planning can't do is reduce the large uncertainties companies face when it comes to climate change, particularly in the near to medium terms.
- Will climate change accelerate?
- Will climate change tipping points be triggered?
- Will public opinion on climate change shift and polarization be moderated?
- Will governments implement the 2oC target (or some other target?)
- Will carbon be priced (how much and by when?)
These are just a few of the many uncertainties surrounding how climate futures will manifest. These uncertainties make it challenging for companies to commit to a specific business course that might include:
- Shifting to an entirely new business model
- Divesting business units or assets
- Acquiring business units or assets
- Relocating facilities and assets
- Selecting a carbon price to apply to internal capital decisions
To inform the timing of decisions like these a company can benefit by tracking the evolution of its climate change decision-making environment. The company can then be prepared to act when the time is right. A pre-planned "rapid response" capability for situations that you can't "go all in" on today can place the company in a much better position to move quickly when the time is right.