Dealing with Climate Surprise

Building decision-making capacity to lead climate adaption

PRESENTED BY: Isabella Allan

Climate surprise events, like COVID19, will appear more frequently and with more intensity.

COVID19 was communicated as an unprecedented event by journalists, categorised as a black swan event by business, and documented as a once in a generation event by politicians as our institutions attempted to isolate this challenge as a one-off event. Yet we know the global challenge of climate warming is not a one-off challenge - it will be enduring.

While climate surprise multiplier effects require us to use systems thinking to tackle the problem, the evidence demonstrates our standard decision-making capacity is lagging behind. While the global pandemic of 2020 showed us how leaders could provide us with a way to unite together, they had to rapidly shift to find a more effective way to make the governance decisions needed to help us adapt.

With climate adaption now a governance priority for business and government as we build back better, we have the opportunity to build our decision-making capacity to become a lead rather than a lag indicator. How business and government includes the community in this decision-making capacity building approach is also crucial. In the immediate aftermath of any surprise event, how a community decides together supports the ability of that community to navigate their way out of that climate surprise event.

Using case studies from the Pacific region we will explore the decision-making capacity building shift that needs to happen.

As leaders, planners are in pole position to help shift our decision-making capacity - are you ready