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Climate Science Experts Share Insight with IFC

A diverse group of IFC staff recently met with climate scientists from the internationally recognized National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado and gained real-world knowledge on what is often a complex issue.

As a leading research institution, NCAR’s message to IFC was direct and sobering: the world’s climate is changing due to human activities.

Based on recent trends the earth will warm at an accelerating rate resulting in major climate change in every region, with the poorest suffering the most. This year, 10 high temperature records are being set for every cold one -- “a clear indication of climate change.” Big businesses—including the oil and gas industry—are assessing how their operations will need to change. Meanwhile, governments are evaluating the potential impacts on food, health, and infrastructure.

The intensive two-day course led staff through 200 years of climate science, from the 1800s when scientists such as Fourier, Tyndall, and Arrhenius first discovered the “greenhouse effect,” to the exponential rise of computing capability since the 1950s that drives today’s climate models.

IFC staff found they were not the first private sector-oriented group to visit the research center: NCAR has been working with a number of business interests to develop more localized climate forecasts and decision-making tools. Recent NCAR collaborations include improved methods for estimating losses from extreme weather events for a major global reinsurer, and better tools for forecasting wind energy for a U.S. utility.

The visit was the latest in a series of learning activities IFC has engaged in over the past three years to ensure staff can leverage the latest climate science in their work. NCAR meanwhile is interested in what IFC could offer to help them better engage the private sector on climate risk strategies.

“The course was highly relevant to IFC business and operations,” said Stephanie Miller, Climate Business Department Director and a course participant. “The insight we gained at NCAR will help us pursue opportunities for both increasing climate-friendly investments as well as financial products and services designed to enhance climate resilience. We expect to see continued benefits from the relationships we established.”

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