Proposing a Tool and Screening Criteria to Resolve Stakeholder Uncertainty

Pacific supply chain stakeholders therefore require a tool such as this paper’s use of Pacific Climate Change Futures, along with climate change projections that consider a range of scenarios and time horizons aiding effective decision making, when planning to adapt businesses as a reliable information gathering method. Additionally, this tool approach is flexible enough to aid stakeholder adaptation solutions e.g. revising technical design standards, climateproofing existing infrastructure/equipment, transport and processes to determine the degree of resilience and stress/asset lifespan to determine adaptation and post event recovery/replacement cost, disaster reduction/risk management responses (Alesch et al. 2001; Fletcher et al. 2013; Babister and Ball 2014). This is necessary as risk may be significantly underestimated by stakeholders relying on guidelines e.g. Beca International Consultants (2010) for Kiribati and Ports Australia (2014), whose National Ports strategy considers standards of 50-100 years in design but significantly underestimates risk using a probability of 1:100 years of significant storms. Other port developments generally prepare 20-30 years in advance (Ports Australia and Freight Logistics Council of Western Australia 2014). Therefore, this paper considers accurate projections contain advantages for stakeholders in ascertaining how climate change disruption threats originate and subsequently develop; how impacts can differ across various economic sectors, supply chain stages, stakeholders, countries and even between short, medium and long term time horizons.

To reduce constraints to climate change adaptation, this paper also aims to minimise supply chain concerns in providing projections and screening criteria for those stakeholders citing constraints of resources, time, lack of research expertise, staff, resources, information access and technical barriers. These are identified as key challenges for small island developing states, especially in the Pacific by Forbes and Solomon (1997), Magnan (2014) and Paeniu et al. (2015). Another significant constraint is the limited availability of shared information and stakeholder cooperation across different supply chain stakeholders even when mutually advantageous in lowering costs. Accurate information also assists in identifying the an event’s timing, the threats and opportunities presented by climate change, to further indicate the need for an integrated stakeholder, joint risk, cooperation approach, in information, communication and adaptation across entire Pacific maritime supply chains to minimise disruption costs to international trade and economic activity, before, during and after a disruption event.

The purpose of these scenarios is to be able to consider how climate change may specifically affect each selected supply chain stakeholder and determine the particular efficaciousness of certain adaptation solutions to address the potential impact costs/opportunities associated with climate change disruption risks. Improved climate change projections and forecasting methods also can more accurately determine the physical vulnerability and risk exposure of maritime supply chain assets/commodities, from direct and indirect climate change related impacts. For example Savonis and Potter (2012) consider the purpose of climate change projections to identify relevant information/articulate data for stakeholder requirements that incorporate the uncertainty, risk and vulnerability of a potential outcome that focuses on combining several tropical climate risks for intermodal transport. These may assist in enhancing the probability of business viability and the physical survival of entire islands and commodity supply chains, to minimise externality, opportunity, congestion, disruption and delay costs. The above assumptions and scenarios possess the following research advantages identified by this paper:

  • Accuracy: Climate change projection scenarios, assumptions and underlying baseline data, selection criteria have been updated from 2007 IPCC scenario assumption estimates of previous studies to the most recent (IPCC AR5 2015) estimates, while improvements in technology, climate change observation and projection forecasting capacity improve the validity of these projections.
  • Reputable/Credible: The scenarios utilise scientific sources internationally recognised, to affirm scenario assumptions and predictions for greater reliability. These provide greater certainty/empirical scientific evidence than dependent stakeholders who underestimate climate change’s potential disruption risk for a supply chain.
  • Consistent: These scenarios retain consistency across a significant number of research sources: World Bank (2012), Victor et al. (2014), SPC (2015), Australia Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO (2014), Netherlands Environmental Agency (2014), IPCC (2015), and used by Pacific island government stakeholders in adaptation. Relying on the IPCC (2015) report ensures a standardised methodology avoiding data fragmentation/differences in variables across a range of projected causes, impact costs and potential disruption risks.
  • Comprehensive: These scenarios and assumptions consider both climate and non climatic interdependent causes or ‘drivers of climate change, inter-decadal and inter-annual variability along with multiple climate change related risk variables over 100 years to reduce the level and nature of uncertainty of reliable data quality.
  • Autonomously Verifiable/Reduce Complacency: Certain studies are based on climate change scenario assumptions but do not independently verify them for consistency/accuracy, further increasing the uncertainty for supply chain stakeholders wishing to swiftly adapt but avoid wasting scarce fiscal, time and other resources. Sources including World Bank (2013) and Wong (2015) further multiply systematic error and uncertainty, maladaptation costs and increase the significant opportunity costs associated with risk underestimation through failing to justify evaluation/scenario selection criteria and underlying theoretical framework.
  • Accessible: The increased institutional research, information gathering/analysing capacity, technological innovation and skilled professional capacity of developed countries in climate change projections can aid less developed countries with similar constraints to small island Pacific nations through accessible data. Pacific nations can reciprocate through providing field research of sudden, disruption risks to maritime supply chains. This allows countries to benefit without wasting scarce resources in isolated efforts and implement adaptation strategies more swiftly to minimise climate change, impact costs.
  • Relevant: to the study significance or stated objectives of understanding the potential economic impact of climate change upon Pacific maritime supply chains.
  • Simple/Transparent: minimising litigation, miscommunication, translation and adaptation costs.
  • Effective: These data sources provide the basis of significant existing efforts in climate change adaptation for supply chain stakeholders.
  • Equity: Data/scenarios are openly accessible to all and simple to verify.
  • Robust/Costs: Providing autonomously verified, international government accepted (IPCC 2015), consistent climate change projections, downscaled to Pacific regional and individual island examples, minimises individual stakeholder research, fiscal, training, business forecasting, administration and adaptation costs. Data needs to be succinct, accessible, and affordable.
  • Flexibility: The three internationally recognised emission scenario types forecast over short (2030), medium (2055) and long term (2090-2100), global, regional and varying across individual Pacific island nations.
  • Data Availability: Newly present high spatial-temporal resolution models combined with satellite imagery for individual Pacific nations to improve downscaling from general circulation models to regional scale models improves data quality.
  • Satisfying Stakeholder Requirements.
  • Practical: in terms of computational, institutional, informational capacity given Pacific supply chain, organisations and governments’ resource constraints.
  • Comparable: Utilised by myriad stakeholders, these assumptions, scenarios and methodology techniques can be applied to different case studies with a common standard of evaluation.

Sources i.e. Australian Government Department of Energy Efficiency and Climate Change (2013) and SPC (2015) actively propose affected maritime supply chain stakeholder consultation but the validity of findings can be compromised without these stakeholders being able to identify specific climate change data scenario assumptions/impact costs, risks and consequences that directly affect them. These stakeholders wary of maladaptation costs from asymmetrical information over issues of timing, intensity and actual consequences and perceptions of scientific uncertainty, are often risk averse in pursuing a response to the ultimate survival threat of climate change. Through providing specific scenarios and assumptions with outlined research advantages, this paper aims to reduce uncertainty factors that prompt moral hazard and inertia by potentially affected stakeholders. For consistency and the above research advantages, this paper utilises the online tool Pacific Climate Futures allowing a range of scenarios and assumptions, Pacific nations/organisations utilised in preparing their national climate change adaptation policies, given existing familiarity and data availability by government stakeholders.

The tool allows users to project specific climate change, variable risks for various IPCC standard scenarios utilising global, regional and nation specific circulation models and assumptions ascertained by IPCC (2015), the Australia Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO (2014) and the local meteorological services of each Pacific island nations. The user can specify time horizons and climate assumptions, in a simplified graphical representation, even downscaling to localised impacts if necessary. The tool’s quality assurance is based on an established scientific consensus that the majority of global nations, their populations and international organisations have recognised. This paper proposes flexibility advantages of users selecting variables to identify the most relevant, efficient, plausible scenarios and assumptions. Each scenario and assumption has been independently verified based on estimates consistent with these nations, IAPH (2013), the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) (2014), the IPCC (2015) report and historic data observations from each Pacific island’s meteorological service. These aim to provide reliable, relevant, consistent, simple, comparatively accurate projection scenarios, to aid climate change anticipation and adaptation as consistently recommended by established literature including Veitayaki et al. (2007), Marra (2014) and Field et al. (2014).

These projections further indicate the urgency of stakeholders to act to climate change, to minimise these threats as the ultimate risk that threatens the future economic, environmental and physical survival of Pacific maritime supply chains. Kinrade and Justus (2006) state that research needs new tools for diagnosing the probability of climate change to aid the determination of effective risk management. High resolution impact data has already aided the similarly climate risk exposed

Caribbean coastal supply chain (Lorde et al. 2013). This paper possesses further supply chain stakeholder advantages in its data gathering method with specific projections and a theoretical screening framework for these stakeholders to independently obtain access to climate change data and scenario simulations, assessment and adaptation without the need to just rely on research of external consultants/conflicting research studies. Accurate, localised, updated projections enable stakeholders to evaluate the costs/benefits of each adaptation and individual stakeholder climate change possible consequences.

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