The risks associated with climate change have become an important issue for society and the business community. These include risks related to the transition to a lower-carbon economy and the physical risks of a changing climate.
Transition risks include policy and legal, technology, market and reputational risks associated with reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and decarbonizing. Physical risks involve direct damage to assets (e.g., from sea level rise, vulnerability to severe weather, storms or temperature rise) or indirect impacts from supply chain disruption, water availability or other climate related factors.
Geosyntec has expertise to address aspects of both kinds of risks.
Transition risks are closely associated with air quality impacts in both the policy and sources/technologies that are responsible for GHG generation, detection, estimating, accounting, reporting and reduction opportunities. Geosyntec’s air practitioners continue to stay current on the evolving climate change and GHG policies in order to advise on low-carbon strategies to minimize these risks. Low carbon strategies include considering opportunities for process improvements in energy efficiency, manufacturing processes changes, product or feedstock substitution, renewable energy, use of low carbon fuels, carbon capture and storage and carbon sequestration. Often our solutions involve the consideration of innovative technology, which can also include consulting related to how current or future policy might accommodate innovation. We help clients estimate the costs, benefits, economic and other impacts of implementing carbon reduction technology options or practices.
One of the fundamental aspects of a greenhouse gas strategy is quantifying GHG emissions with the proper level of accuracy and including the proper boundaries for assessing the extent of a client’s Scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions. Geosyntec’s experts have experience developing GHG emission inventories for a variety of reporting and strategic planning purposes that include direct Scope 1 source or facility emissions, indirect Scope 2 emissions from energy use and Scope 3 emissions within the value chain. These inventories can take the form of submittals to the US EPA under the mandatory reporting rule (MRR) or other jurisdictions, serve as underpinning for corporate reports, or provide a basic carbon footprint for sustainability planning. Our practitioners have applied multiple protocols for data collection, accuracy and reporting from federal and state programs as well as international and industry trade organizations and client-specific guidelines and have also advised in development of protocols. We can also minimize risk for our clients by conducting informal audits of their GHG inventories to prepare for 3rd party verification in states such as California that require mandatory GHG inventory verification.
Other services that can be provided by our practitioners include development of GHG monitoring plans, and methane leak detection and reduction. For example, Geosyntec has worked for years addressing environmental challenges at landfills and maintains a landfill gas management practice within the firm that undertakes planning, design, permitting, construction and operation of landfill gas collection and control systems as well as methane migration mitigation in the subsurface. We also often assess GHG impacts of proposed new development or planned modifications of capital projects during project planning, permitting or licensing.
Regarding physical risks, Geosyntec's air practitioners have conducted climate change studies and impact evaluations to help clients better understand how changes in the weather (e.g., heat waves and incidents of climate cooling or air stagnation) affect their facilities, their operations, and their bottom line. These studies typically examine temperature and precipitation trends influenced by climate change and apply modelling tools to weather patterns that can help identify strategies for mitigating climate change effects.