Since last year we have envisioned a Thought Leadership article about jobs being created by climate change. We tried several times but to be honest, we needed an insider with greater knowledge of the science and impact than currently exists at our firm. This week the Executive Alliance Thought Leadership team welcomes a new contributor, Keith W. Rizzardi, Professor of Law from Nova Southeastern University. Below is Professor Rizzardi’s article. Please note the hyperlinks supply supporting information that transforms this article into a true learning experience. 


Our changing climate can trigger anxiety about our coasts, cities, families, and jobs. Perhaps, instead of worrying, we should pursue professional growth. In the economic marketplace, the climate crisis creates opportunities, too.


Frightening data and reports from NASA and the United Nations describe our past, present and future. The EPA predicts floods, droughts, heat, rising seas and intense weather. Unexpected disruptions affect the business supply chain. As society suffers billion-dollar disasters, the demand for solutions will grow. The world is in flux.


The workplace must adapt, and needs climate knowledge, skills and abilities for the next generation. New technologies will reduce our emissions or otherwise store carbon and other greenhouse gases. Employees who understand environmental sustainability, particularly those with science degrees and certifications, become especially valuable. And three major types of careers and businesses will be at the forefront.


One group of companies, both large and small, will engage in mitigation, directly confronting the climate problem. Inventors and creative thinkers will continue to reimagine renewable energy, battery power and electric vehicles. Optimizers will enhance the things that already exist, finding better products, materials, and procedures. The energy and transportation sectors, in particular, will continue to transform. Climate smart agriculture will find new ways to meet food demands, too.


Sadly, even as society tries to reduce climate concerns, some problems will come anyway. Another group of professionals will pursue adaptationInsurance and financial professionals will process data to understand the challenges, and to assess and reduce the risks. Emergency managers propose measures to lessen impacts before the events, and react when they do. Construction-related professionals will be busy with repairs, rebuilding, and perhaps even the design and planning of entirely new communities as people relocate from flooded and overheated locations. Water management will be especially important, ensuring the supply of drinking and usable water, while managing floods and environmental conversation needs. Urban forests will cool overheated cities. Even the medical profession will get involved, as changing temperatures alter ecosystems and pathogens, causing new ailments.


Finally, a third group of employees must engage in communication about the many climate concerns.  Companies will disclose their environmental risks to shareholders and regulators. Technical writers will describe problems and lawyers will debate and explain problems with their clients and in court. Even the field of psychology is affected, shaping how people discuss and react to our challenging environmental times.


The climate crisis is a global, slow-motion hurricane.  Thus far, our collective response may be suboptimal, but a transformation is underway, and climate competence in the workplace must grow. Humanity will be tested by climate change, and in the employment marketplace, anxiety and denial are not the answer. The climate jobs are coming. Get ready.


Thanks so much Professor Rizzardi and welcome to the Team!


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