The Value, Business, and Scaling Climate Services
The partnership behind the suite of climate-related science products (ex: forecasting, planning and decision support, education, business development efforts) is showcasing its growing depth and breadth in Brussels this week. Three key themes have emerged from day one of the ICCS2 proceedings.
The Value at Stake. The first of these themes is the stunning size of the value at stake that this enterprise seeks to address. Setting aside human lives and impacts as a separate issue, McKinsey’s Nicolas Deny notes that “40-70% of expected damage from climate hazards can be avoided cost effectively,” and that countries engaging in risk mitigation analysis find million of dollars in opportunities for savings. Recognizing the value of property assets alone that climate services reveal are at risk and eligible for protection, is one of the most exciting elements that occupies much session and hallway discussion here.
Properly Positioning Climate Services. As the notion of climate services matures, clarifying its value proposition and positioning in the minds of potential users, partners, and its own development community is a critical challenge. Tom Brookes from the European Climate Foundation, detailed how really tremendous the complexity of starting a new enterprise of this magnitude is. The legal, sales, pricing and other essential business functions that individual, unrelated partnership efforts must navigate will require skills that go far beyond the strengths of many in our developer community. As these services mature, getting smarter in terms of these skills and bringing in the right expert partners will be of the utmost importance. Absent securing this expertise, the scale and impact we seek to achieve will be elusive. Furthermore, the question was raised: Is ‘climate services’ even the right name for all this? The impetus for the question is that with “climate” we inherit all its negative baggage. The group explored a different type of brand framing with more of a focus on “weather” over climate and the considerable goodwill that the notion of “forecasting” has in both the general and business publics.
Mapping and Understanding the Broad Services Terrain. Finally, how we define, chronicle and capture the broad range of emerging climate-focused products and services is important. We saw demonstrations including programmatic efforts, analytical and web-based solutions -- all for climate responses across multiple geographies. How many of these services exist, in what ways they overlap (or don’t), is data sharing possible, do models port well, and what are the lessons learned? These are all questions that the partnership seeks to help answer in its clearing house function.