National Academies Press: OpenBook

Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk (2018)

Chapter: Chapter 3 - Build Support

« Previous: Chapter 2 - Conduct Self-Assessment of Relevant Climate Hazards and Management Systems
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Build Support." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25327.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Build Support." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25327.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Build Support." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25327.
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19 Before you can identify, develop, and propose climate change integration strategies at your airport, you may need to build support. For some airports, managing climate risks may be new and will require diverse staff participation, collaboration, and financial support. Approaches for gaining support can be top-down or bottom-up. A top-down approach is a change that comes from upper management, often acting as a directive for lower-level actions or decisions. Actions or decisions by a lower-level group or individual that create change come from bottom-up approaches. The following strategies can help you to build the support you need to manage climate risks. 3.1 Identify a Champion Climate risk management initiatives may be most successful when a specific individual or team generates support for the effort. This champion, or champions, will drive climate change integra- tion throughout and across your airport so that the function is considered in each management system planning cycle. The role of a champion is not to do all the work single-handedly, but to gather the support that is needed, foster collaboration, and sustain momentum for the effort. In many cases, climate champion is not a formal job title but rather an unofficial role that a person adopts in addition to other duties. 3.2 Define Roles and Responsibilities You can set up your group of climate risk management champions for success by maintaining clear, individual responsibilities as your needs and efforts progress. This clarification avoids any confusion that might arise from such a delegation of responsibilities. Actions that can help this effort include the following: • Establish goals and objectives. Ensure that your team’s goals, needs, and objectives are aligned before assigning individual tasks and actions. Revisit these goals and objectives throughout your climate change integration efforts to measure progress or to change these goals and objectives if needed. • Create specific responsibilities and roles of individuals and groups. Once your goals are aligned, assign specific tasks, responsibilities, and roles for individuals or groups on your team. Take into account each individual’s existing roles and responsibilities within the air- port: some team members may be suited to a top-down or bottom-up approach for integrat- ing climate change. For example, individuals involved in management system planning could ensure that climate change is visited at each planning meeting. In a top-down approach, team C H A P T E R 3 Build Support

20 Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk members could incorporate an element of climate change education as part of airport-wide mandatory training exercises. • Set out timelines. Once roles and responsibilities are set, attach your goals, objectives, and individual tasks to a timeline. Regularly monitor your progress and allocate resources to needed efforts. 3.3 Make the Case to Executive Management Making the case for climate risk management to airport executives or senior management will help inform airport priorities, influence the amount of effort that individual departments will expend on climate risk management, and contribute to a coordinated approach to climate risk management at the airport. You may find success in engaging your upper management about the risks and costs associ- ated with climate change. Showing how climate risk management can save money, improve service reliability, and decrease workplace hazards is recommended. This handbook provides a template for making the case to executive management (see Appendix B). When appealing to upper-level management, incorporate airport-wide strategic objectives and goals. The example template in Appendix A can support these efforts. Also see Section 3.5, which can help in developing methods for communicating the relationship between climate change and your airport’s strategic objectives. 3.4 Build Support across Airport Departments You can create a heightened awareness of climate risks by internal engagement and educa- tion. Examples of these activities include distributing a one-page summary of climate risks to staff across departments and hosting optional workshops and seminars where airport personnel can learn and discuss climate hazards and risks that you have identified in your self-assessment. Treat these events as introductory outreach efforts to solicit feedback and garner interest. You may find that you are not the only person at your airport actively seeking to integrate climate risks; other teams may have already begun efforts. You can use these engagement activities to identify those personnel, share experiences, and potentially begin collaborating. If possible, commission internal exploratory efforts that foster collaboration to create climate change awareness. For example, the chief executive officer of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority tasked an internal group to work across management systems to determine airport climate risks and created awareness through collaboration (ACRP 2012a). 3.5 Coordinate with External Stakeholders Airlines, other commercial airport tenants, fixed base operators, and concessions are depen- dent on airports for business continuity, regardless of climate or other conditions (ACRP 2013). Risk management exercises at your airport—including climate risk management—should involve these stakeholders in appropriate ways (ACRP 2013). For example, identify the stake- holders and decide whether and how they should be involved in your risk management pro- cesses. At a minimum, include these stakeholders in communication efforts to ensure that they are aware of the airport’s planning. Coordinating and collaborating with external stakeholders allows airports to address indirect climate risks. Indirect climate risks can affect your airport even if you cannot directly mitigate them. Examples of indirect risks may include disruptions to airport energy and water supply sys- tems, disruptions to vulnerable transportation infrastructure providing airport access (e.g.,

Build Support 21 local highway pavement failure), and delays or disruptions to other airport supply chains. Airport planners could share data or lessons learned in mitigating climate risks with external stakeholders who have greater control over these indirect risks. 3.6 Communicate Effectively Keeping your message simple, focused, positive, and solution-based will help you to create empowerment and support. Use these additional steps to help your communication efforts: • Focus on climate risks and not the causes. The science behind the forces that create climate change can be challenging to communi- cate and sometimes can create tension. Focusing instead on the risks, and those risks specific to your airport and region, can help simplify this message. Relying on clear historic examples and recent climate trends may help others grasp these risks. Sometimes stakeholders are more receptive to discussing severe weather or variable weather patterns, as the threats and risks from these events are often more relatable than climate change. • Acknowledge the uncertainty in climate projections. Uncertainty in future climate values is a common challenge for airports and other entities. In many projections, the direction of change is certain, and scientists can often provide a mini- mum amount of expected change, but the exact amount of change is uncertain. Acknowledging the uncertainty in your communications could help open the conversation. The text box on page 3 provides additional information about acknowledging and working with uncertainty. • Keep the message positive. Sometimes the vastness and the severity of climate risks can be overwhelming. While under- scoring risks can motivate people to take action, a message that is too doom and gloom can have the opposite effect. Too negative a message can give the wrong impression that nothing can be done or may even push people into denial that the risks can possibly be true. A better approach is to focus your message on what people can do to mitigate climate risks and improve your airport’s performance, whether as an individual or a team. Research shows that communication about climate change is most successful when hazards and risks are paired with solutions that connect with us on a personal level and empower the audience to engage further (ecoAmerica 2014). When people feel empowered to address a risk, they are more likely to act. Therefore, you do not necessarily want to dwell on extreme, worst-case scenarios, but rather outline realistic risks and then explain how it is in the airport’s control to reduce those risks. • Focus on why this matters to the audience at hand. While keeping your core points and objectives the same, you can tailor your message when targeting different audiences. For example, planners involved in emergency management will want to focus on the risks and hazards associated with severe weather events, while asset management personnel will be more interested in the impact on infrastructure maintenance and rehabilitation needs. • Tie communication efforts to airport-wide objectives. Airport-wide objectives provide a driving motivator for action. Link your climate risk management objectives to the airport-wide mission, vision, values, objectives, and goals as described in the airport’s strategic plan or other document. The example template in Appendix B (also available online) can help these efforts. • Develop and disseminate intuitional knowledge of risks. Consider using your results from the self-assessment to create a summary of airport- specific climate risks that can be used throughout the airport. For example, you could sim- plify and summarize your output from Table 3. This summary could assist other airport managers to begin thinking through potential impacts to their own management systems, and expedite your climate risk integration efforts.

Next: Chapter 4 - Take Action to Integrate Climate Risks »
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TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Research Report 188: Using Existing Airport Management Systems to Manage Climate Risk integrates current and projected climate change related risks into airport management systems and planning. The handbook identifies ways to reduce airport vulnerabilities to current and projected impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events. It also explores ways to minimize long-term costs to airport facilities and operations. This handbook provides a detailed guide for integration, as well as a self-assessment tool for determining the applicable systems for climate-related decision-making within the airport.

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