MIT tool shows climate change could cost Texans a month and a half by 2080 | Tech Crunch

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There are many ways to explain what is happening to Earth's atmosphere: Global Warming. climate change Climate crisis. A global freak. They all try to capture in different ways the phenomena caused by the distortion of our global climate systems. Yet even with thesaurus-entry's valuable options, it's still a relatively difficult concept to do.

Researchers at MIT may finally have an answer. Instead of predicting Category 5 hurricanes or record hot days, they developed a tool that allows people to see how many “outdoor days” their region could experience by 2100 without checking for increases in carbon emissions.

The results can be alarming or comforting, depending on where you live.

For people in California or France or Germany, things don't look so bad. The climate is less hospitable in summer, but it grows a little more mild in spring and fall, with periods of outdoor weather ranging from a few days to nearly a month compared to historical records. By the end of the century the UK will do even better, gaining 40 outdoor days.

But not everyone comes forward. Some temperate places, such as New York, Massachusetts, China and Japan, lose a week or more of outdoor days. Elsewhere, the picture looks more grim. Illinois could lose more than a month of outdoor days by the 2080s as summers grow unbearably hot. Texas will lose a month and a half due to this reason.

However, countries with the most vulnerable populations will suffer the most (as scientists warn). Nigeria's summers grow hotter and longer, losing nearly two months of outdoor days. India will lose about two and a half months.

It doesn't have to be that way. Even if the world fails to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – but will manage to achieve it by 2070 – the situation will improve dramatically. Both Nigeria and India will only lose a month of open days and the more northern regions will have some of their extra open days.

Assessing risk

The MIT tool is a relative application of a field of study known as climate scenario analysis, a branch of strategic planning that seeks to understand how climate change will affect different regions and populations. This is not a new field, but as advances in computational power have encouraged more sophisticated climate models, it is more widely applicable than before.

A wide variety of startups are using this relatively newfound predictive ability to help shape an uncertain future.

Many startups in the space are focused on solving uncertainty for investors, lenders and insurers. Jupiter Intelligence, Servest and One Concern all focus on those markets, supplying customers with dashboards and data feeds that are tailored to regions or even assets of interest. The startups also determine the risk of floods, wildfires and drought and deliver reports detailing the risk to assets and supply chains. They can also crank out regulatory disclosures, highlighting relevant climate risks.

Investors and insurers are concerned enough about how climate change will affect assets and supply chains that these startups have attracted some real cash. Jupiter Intelligence raised $97 million, Servest $43 million and One Concern $152 million, according to Pitchbook.

While major financial institutions are an obvious customer base for weather forecast companies, other markets exposed to the outdoors also need solutions.

ClimateAI is targeting agriculture, including agribusinesses, lenders and food and beverage companies, all of which have been affected by droughts, floods and storms that have destroyed crops. As a result, water risk assessment is a key feature of ClimateAI's forecasts, even if other weather and climate-related data are provided. The startup has raised $37 million so far, according to Pitchbook.

Sensible Weather is operating in markets that are a little closer to home for most of us. It provides insurance for people who embark on outdoor events and activities, from live concerts to camping and golfing. It works with campgrounds, golf courses, live event operators and more, allowing them to offer consumers an option to insure their vacation against inclement weather. This is how the startup received $22 million in funding, according to Pitchbook.

As more businesses and consumers become aware of how climate change will affect their lives, their demand for certainty will create a wealth of new markets that provide ample opportunities for these startups and their peers to expand. Climate scenario analysis, once confined to academic labs and insurance companies, appears poised to enter the mainstream.

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