Climate change, with its accompanying effects -- variable temperatures, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events -- is prompting governments around the world to take steps to protect cities, communities, and people from these disruptions by updating building codes, improving infrastructure, and rewriting existing zoning laws. While these actions are generally necessary, they pose challenges for business leaders as they adapt their operations to stay in line with new regulations guiding their industry.
These challenges are especially prevalent in the commercial real estate sector, where zoning laws greatly influence investments, planning, and development. In addition to evolving zoning regulations, climate-related events like hurricanes and floods present potential problems for those who fund, build, and own commercial properties such as hotels, apartments and condominiums, office buildings, and retail centers.
To protect lives and property and help mitigate the economic effects of climate change threats, real estate development professionals can create a comprehensive emergency-preparedness plan tailored to their specific region. In addition to identifying likely threats and local emergency resources, the plan should factor climate risk into property value and insurance costs and consider (re)building strategies that focus on long-term resilience to climate change. Outside legal counsel can be very helpful to professionals as they develop these types of plans and navigate the complexities of environmental regulation and other climate-related issues.