Climate change impacts and implications propagate as cascades across physical and human systems, compounding to form multiple impacts across sectors. Such effects arise because of the interdependencies between natural and socio-economic systems as they change and from feedback loops that occur between them. As such, cascading impacts have significant implications for community wellbeing, adaptive capacity, and governance. Cascades affect the ability of individuals, governments, and the private sector to adapt in time before damaging impacts occurs. This has implications for governance and institutions’ ability to address the resulting instability within society and across economic domains.
To date, there has been little research that examines how climate change impacts propagate as cascades across human systems and about their implications. This research explores cascading impacts of climate change and their implications. The authors focus on urban systems, water and utility network systems, and financial services domains which are of critical concern for the effects of increased frequency of high-intensity storms, sea-level rise impacts on top of increased frequency of storm tides and drought.