Chiara Rinaldi is co-founder of Sustainaccount, a climate intelligence startup empowering real estate project developers, investors and companies with actionable climate risk data and specific adaptation measures to foster the resilience of buildings and real assets. She has a broad management experience in operations, finance, business development and strategy consulting with a focus on sustainability. Chiara supported organizations in developing sustainability strategies, defining policies and frameworks, and improving sustainability performance. She holds an MBA from SDA Bocconi in Milan and an MSc from Trieste University in Italy.
Climate change has become one of the most significant global challenges. Burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and agriculture have accelerated the emission of greenhouse gases resulting in a rise of more than 1°C in the Earth’s average temperature since pre-industrial times. This has led to more frequent and intense extreme weather events such as heatwaves, storms, and droughts. In addition, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and loss of biodiversity also pose a significant threat to human health, the environment, and our economy.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that the impacts of climate change will continue to worsen in the coming years. Reducing emissions is critical, but it will not be enough to prevent the effects of climate change, which are already being felt across the globe. Therefore, it is crucial that we also take action to prepare and reduce the impacts of the changing climate.
To address this challenge, the international community has been working on both mitigation and adaptation measures. Mitigation measures focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to slow down the pace at which the planet is warming. This involves switching to renewable energy sources, implementing energy efficiency measures, and other strategies that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Adaptation measures, on the other hand, are aimed at preparing for the impacts of a changing climate that are already unavoidable.
The use of digital technologies has become increasingly important in fostering climate change adaptation, helping businesses and communities understand and prepare for the risks of a changing climate.
Climate risk assessments are one of the key areas of application of digital technologies in this space. Climate risk assessments allow evaluate the potential impacts of climate change on specific industries, regions, or assets and are critical for helping organizations develop strategies to increase their resilience to these impacts. Digital tools are used to assess the potential impacts of climate change on various sectors, such as agriculture, real estate and infrastructure, and to develop strategies for increasing their resilience to these impacts. For example, digital technologies are used to simulate the consequences of sea level rise on coastal infrastructure and to assess the potential risks posed by the increased frequency of wind storms or other extreme weather events. This information can be leveraged to inform decision-making, prioritize investments in the development of more resilient infrastructures and implement measures to protect buildings and communities from the impacts of climate change.
Climate modelling and simulation are one of the significant digital trends driving progress in this area. By using advanced computer algorithms, scientists can simulate the Earth’s climate and predict how it will change in the future, providing decision-makers with important information about the potential impacts of climate change. Climate data analysis is also playing a crucial role, as it involves collecting and analyzing large amounts of environmental data to monitor the effects of climate change. This data includes temperature, precipitation, and other meteorological records, as well as data from remote sensing and ground-based observations. Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms can be used to analyze this data and detect patterns and trends, helping to identify areas that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Building Information Modelling is also a relevant tool for climate change adaptation. It makes it possible to design buildings and infrastructure that are resilient to more frequent extreme events related to climate change, such as flooding and heat waves. The use of innovative materials, the development of green areas and specific construction techniques are strategies that can be taken to prevent the consequences of extreme weather events. Digital replicas of physical assets can also support the evaluation of the effects of simultaneous events and define the best solutions to increase resilience.
Smart city systems are playing an important role in promoting climate change adaptation and building resilience in urban areas. By using digital technologies to manage the flow of people, goods, and services in cities, it is possible to increase the efficiency and sustainability of these systems, while also reducing the risks posed by climate change. For example, smart city systems can be used to monitor and respond to changes in water levels and adapt the operating conditions of the relevant infrastructure to respond to a potential threat. IoT applications can also monitor early signs of triggering events by detecting variations in temperatures, wind and other atmospheric conditions and issuing early warnings or activating response mechanisms to improve the management of energy, transportation, and other critical infrastructure systems in response to these events.
Digital technologies can also be leveraged to increase access to climate information, allowing underserved communities to prepare for the impacts of climate change. Mobile applications can be used to provide information on weather patterns and forecasts, and notifications can be sent to alert communities of potential threats. Community-based monitoring systems can be developed to collect environmental data in real time, allowing communities to prepare for potential climate related threats.
In conclusion, digital technologies are playing a crucial role in building a climate-resilient future. Climate risk assessments, climate modelling and simulation, Building Information Modelling, and smart city systems are just a few examples of digital tools and innovative solutions that are being used to increase the resilience of buildings and infrastructure and address the challenges posed by climate change. By leveraging the power of digital tools and granting widespread access to climate information, it is possible to improve our understanding of the risks posed by climate change, develop effective adaptation strategies, and create a more sustainable and resilient future for all.