Commentary: Weather events, not climate change
“U.S. small businesses are particularly at risk from extreme weather and climate change and must take steps to adapt, according to a new report from Small Business Majority (SBM) and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC).”
That first paragraph from a news release will turn off more than a few ag professionals, as I’ve been castigated for even mentioning “climate change” and called a liberal zealot for including anything remotely connected to weather change or long-term weather patterns on AgProfessional.com, in e-newsletters or in the magazine.
People who don’t believe that the weather might be different in the next 100 years than the last 100 years get as worked up as those who condemn Monsanto for continuing in business. At least that is my experience.
If the two organizations who compiled the extreme weather report had simply seen fit to exclude climate change and referred to the weather extremes that we’ve gone through in the last couple years, and might go through in the next few years, then many of those unbelievers of climate change would probably agree with most of the findings.
As the summary of the report notes, “because small businesses are distinctly critical to the U.S. economy, and at the same time uniquely vulnerable to damage from extreme weather events, collective actions by the small business community could have an enormous impact on insulating the U.S. economy from climate risk.”
The report investigator/authors used case studies from the retail, tourism, landscape architecture, agriculture, roofing and small-scale manufacturing sectors of the U.S. economy to make the point that small businesses are usually hurt worse from such weather events as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and drought.
Following are some of the facts about small businesses and disaster recovery. The analysis seems in line with what happens if a tornado hits a rural community, agricultural area of the U.S.
“Small businesses employ approximately 60 million Americans, or nearly half of the entire U.S. workforce.
“According to NOAA, 2011 and 2012 were the two most extreme years on record for destructive weather events, which caused a total of more than $170 billion in damages, much of that to businesses.
“Lacking access to the capital and resources of large corporations, small businesses can suffer lasting economic damage as a result of a single extreme weather event. For example, of the 60,000 to 100,000 small businesses negatively affected by Hurricane Sandy, up to 30 percent are estimated to have failed as a direct result of the storm.
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