The basic concept of climate change is the idea that people are having a negative impact on the Earth’s environment. NASA states that the current warming trend is 95% likely to be caused by the decisions of humans and that the rate at which it’s occurring is unprecedented. The planet is warming 10 times faster than any other discernable time in history.
The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is designed to catch heat and a variety of other gases and trap it all inside the ozone layer. There is zero debate that glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising. and snow coverage is shrinking. The number of record high temperatures has been rising while record lows have been falling. In addition, there are more adverse weather events (e.g., hurricanes, intense storms, etc.)
The Other Side
Climate change is such a huge concept that it’s difficult for even scientists to understand, and not all of them agree on the severity of its effects. Former NASA scientist Dr. Roy Spencer published a graph showing that over 95% of scientists over-predicted the warming trends, causing them to look far more dangerous than their reality. He’s not saying that humans have had no effect on the environment, but he is saying that the negativity has been overstated.
Scientists have a very difficult time predicting the future, and even a seemingly tiny mistake can have drastic implications for government policy. In addition to potentially overblown facts about the Earth’s atmosphere, there are tangible benefits to increased CO2 in the air. Plants actually grow better with more carbon dioxide, and the amount of greenery has gone up in recent years, creating more oxygen and food for the planet.
Climate Change and the Construction Industry
There are several fairly obvious things to consider when it comes to possible effects on the construction industry. The increase of storms and fluctuations in weather can delay progress on a project, which can ultimately spell financial trouble for both property owner and construction company. Insurance will become more and more important as construction companies are forced to mitigate their losses caused by weather. The more damage is done by weather, the higher insurance premiums will go, which will push the project cost higher for owners. Government regulations may become tighter and tighter as policymakers try to lessen the industry’s impact on the Earth.
One potential advantage of global warming is that the construction season has increased in many areas. With shorter winters and longer summers, workers now have a few extra weeks to get more done. Insurance will also likely become more specific as everyone adjusts to new weather patterns, allowing companies to better customize their policies against different events. This may make remodeling and repair work easier to budget for in the future.
How Can Business Owners Prepare?
Paying attention to what’s happening with climate change, will be a tremendous help. For example, if your area is more prone to harsher weather, then it may be time to make specific contingency plans for how you’ll deal with everything from increased wind speeds to perpetual rain. Contracts should be altered and communication should be increased, so property owners have a clear idea of what will happen should their project be affected by turbulent weather. Construction delay is the most common reason for a lawsuit in construction law, so this step is paramount to keeping your business alive. You may also want to think about changing your equipment out for products that are more environmentally friendly (e.g., zero-emission vehicles, etc.)
Climate change is an undoubtedly complicated subject. Regardless of your own personal feelings about it, it’s clear that no one can predict the exact scope of how it will change the Earth as we know it. The best thing you can do as a construction owner is to pay attention and try to use the changes to your advantage whenever possible.
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