January 31, 2022
by: Jacob Shapiro
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“Climate change” and “supply chains” are both extremely complex subjects. Climate change encompasses a range of phenomena: precipitation patterns, temperature, emissions, pollution, erosion, desertification, etc. Similarly, “supply chains” is too general a term to be of analytical value. The supply chain for wheat, for example, may share little in common with the supply chain for an advanced microchip.
Our goal in this article will be to offer an adaptable analytical approach to integrating climate change into a geopolitical risk assessment of global supply chains. We will develop usable concepts and definitions for climate change, supply chains, and geopolitics and construct a framework for understanding how these phenomena interact with each other.
We will turn our attention to two cases studies: wheat (a commodity particularly susceptible to climate change) and advanced semiconductors (a complex, manufactured product dependent on multiple supply chains). By applying this analytical approach, we hope to provide a high-level outline for government officials and supply chain professionals to empower them to better strategize how they can tailor to managing specific risks and opportunities in the face of such large and unwieldy forces.
Jacob Shapiro a is a fellow with the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations. The views expressed in this interview are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S. China Relations.