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We need to talk about resilience

24th August 2022 Dr Sarah Cumbers, Director of Evidence and Insight, Lloyd’s Register Foundation 3 min read

In recent years, we have become used – desensitized, perhaps – to images on our TV screens and across social media of extreme weather events, from wildfires to floods, often destroying the lives and livelihoods of people across the globe. 

If it’s happening somewhere else, far from where we live, it can perhaps be viewed with a sense of detachment. However, when we experience the impacts of these incidents ‘at home’, in the country in which we live, the grim reality of the climate emergency starts to really sink in. Not just in the increasing frequency and severity of such severe weather episodes, but also in how under-prepared much of our infrastructure is to deal with them with a minimum of harm to life and property. 

In the recently published first report of the 2021 Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll, we found that more than two thirds (67%) of people globally now perceive climate change as a threat to their country. And with global experience of harm from severe weather up from 22% in 2019 to 27% in 2021, we must face the reality that we are now fighting the global climate battle on two fronts. 

Combatting climate risk on two fronts 

As severe weather events become more frequent, building resilience to the impacts of climate change has become just as important as limiting climate change itself. 

As an independent global safety charity with a mission to find and fund engineering solutions that protect both people and property, Lloyd’s Register Foundation is playing its part on both of those fronts – supporting the safe development and implementation of new technologies to reduce emissions and limit climate change on one hand, while producing research and enabling programs that will help countries and communities cope with the current and accelerating impacts on the other. 

Decarbonizing shipping 

On the first of these fronts, we are harnessing our unique structure and relationship with Lloyd’s Register Group – the world’s oldest maritime classification society, wholly owned by the Foundation – to jointly lead the Lloyd’s Register Maritime Decarbonisation Hub. The Hub exists to accelerate the sustainable decarbonization of the maritime industry, by enabling the delivery and operation of safe, technically feasible and commercially viable zero-emission vessels by 2030. 

With shipping currently accounting for at least 2.5% of global CO2 emissions, the work of the Hub is enabling an important contribution to the decarbonization of global supply chains. The most recent update of the Hub’s Zero-Carbon Fuel Monitor has found that the industry’s readiness for alternative fuels including methanol, ammonia and hydrogen has risen across many supply chain stages since 2021, but much work remains to be done. 

Building resilience 

However, the Foundation’s main reason for supporting Climate Week NYC this year is to drive forward the urgent conversation on the second front: improving the resilience of countries and communities across the world to the adverse effects of climate change. 

Our primary tool for informing this conversation is the 2021 World Risk Poll. The second report will be published on 14 September, just in time for Climate Week, with the findings explored and discussed both as part of a Hub Live plenary session on the new climate reality, and in a dedicated webinar the next day. 

The new World Risk Poll report will map the resilience of people and countries across the world at four key levels: individual, household, community, and societal. By combining this ‘Resilience Index’ with data on experience of disasters caused by severe weather and other natural hazards, the report will provide vital intelligence for policymakers, businesses and civil society to identify vulnerabilities and help target interventions to improve resilience – not only against climate change, but against all manner of global safety challenges for which resilience is crucial to reducing risk. 

Lloyd’s Register Foundation is already working with partners such as the Resilience Rising global consortium to help create interventions that improve resilience, but we are always on the lookout for opportunities to create new strategic partnerships to drive forward these efforts. This is why we are hugely excited to be supporting and speaking at Climate Week NYC this year, as it provides an unparalleled opportunity for conversations and connections that advance the resilience agenda. Keep an eye out for the World Risk Poll resilience report, and if the findings inspire you, let’s talk – let’s ‘Get It Done’.