Monday, June 11, 2007

Manche mögen's heiß

"Some like it hot"—that's the title of a new study by Deutsche Bank Research about the effects of climate change on business out through 2030. To learn more and to find out who they think some of the business winners and losers might be (maybe you can position yourself to capitalize on some of these changes!), read the article by the same name from manager magazin. Better yet, read the full report.

For an English-language view, see the Grant Thornton International Business Report 2007 on energy and the environment.

A few comments to these essays:

  • Sometimes it seems as if the people who talk about this issue are environmentalists who, some may fear, don't understand business. These two reports are part of a growing wave of business-oriented efforts to deal with climate change, peak oil, and their impacts. As Grant Thornton says, their report "highlights the incompatibility between continued rapid growth in the global economy and the sustainability of the environment...."
  • The DB Research report is much more detailed than the Grant Thornton one, but it's also more geographically focused, looking mostly at Europe. However, if you live elsewhere, their report may prompt your thinking about the opportunities and risks in your region. The Grant Thornton report is generally at a higher level and more global. Read them both to get a fuller picture, both of what we may face in business and what thought leaders in business are thinking today.
  • The DB Research report explicitly takes a ceteris paribus approach. A system dynamics approach might well eliminate that restriction and provide added insights. While one rarely succeeds in system dynamics when "modeling the system", it's certainly feasible to pick a problem, as they've done, and to model it as part of making sense of it and of testing solutions.

Incidentally, I realize that one of these reports is in German. I wish it were easy for everyone to read it, and I wish I could read good reports done in languages I don't know. While Google Language Tools, other automated tools, and multilingual friends and colleagues may help in the short term, I think it's important that we in the USA work multiple languages into the educational system at all levels. We can do it because it's a good thing to do, we can do it because it helps us communicate with those who speak or write in other languages, or we can do it because we realize that English may not always be the common language for business as it seems to have become today, and we want to treat others who have English as a second language today the same way we hope they'll treat us tomorrow if their language becomes the dominant language of trade and commerce.

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