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Adapting to climate threat
How can countries and organisations plan for and help mitigate all that climate change might entail, in terms of energy security, flooding, deforestation and other threats? According to David Ballard (of Alexander Ballard Ltd), this is a fascinating, complex field to which organisational psychologists have much to offer. The bad news is that the running of most UK industries is predicated on cost saving in the context of stable weather.
To gauge an organisation's level of preparedness and awareness, Ballard and his colleagues have created a tool called PACT, which is based on a six-stage developmental framework from Response Level 1 (core business focused) all the way up to Response Level 5 (strategic resilience) and, rarely reached, 6 (champion organisation). The first describes organisations that are only interested in money and what they can get away with, the penultimate is when climate change preparation has become a core concern.
According to Ballard, The Netherlands is a world leader in this area. They have a National Adaptation Strategy and they've earmarked ?50 million for the Knowledge of Climate Change programme, which aims to make eight vulnerable areas safer. What's more, they don't just help themselves, they lend their expertise to others, including New Orleans and Chichester Harbour.
Ballard has worked with some of the senior people involved in the Dutch programme and he recalls one of them telling him that they have an unshakeable determination to protect the Dutch people. 'I have to say, I don't see that kind of statement very often in the English/British civil service,' Ballard said. 'Although in the Scottish, I do rather more.'
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