On May 1, 2019, the Tampa Bay RPC hosted an all-day workshop that focused on financing climate resilience and mitigation. The attendees, many from city and county governments in the Tampa Bay region, heard about ways to pay for renewable energy projects, how to reduce insurance risks, and how to attract more private investment. The main theme: Get comfortable with uncertainty.
The keynote speaker and Harvard Business School senior lecturer, John Macomber informed everyone to get used to making decisions using probabilities. For instance, is the chance of a weather event destroying a sewage plant in any given year two or four percent? The answer could mean the difference between doing little or spending billions to relocate the facility. Mr. Macomber emphasized to attendees the need to think like banks and insurance companies, which are constantly assessing risk. Probabilities are, by definition uncertain, but successful businesses use them regularly to inform their decision-making. Focusing on risk and probabilities also helps move the conversation away from the debate about the existence of climate change and what’s contributing to it. “This is a tool you can use with a lot of people to avoid taking the bait on an endless science argument,” he said.