Can EarthScan Lead the Business Climate Revolution?

Updated: Apr 21

The effects of human-caused global warming are happening now, are irreversible on the timescale of people alive today, and will worsen in the decades to come.[1]

We know by now that global warming is a symptom of climate change.

We also know that climate change is the result of greenhouse gas emissions being produced at a much faster rate than they can be sequestered.

Sea level rise, storm surge, and heavy downpours, in combination with the pattern of continued development in coastal areas, are increasing damage to U.S. infrastructure including roads, buildings, and industrial facilities, and are also increasing risks to ports and coastal military installations.[2]

This is having a devastating impact on many areas, from biodiversity loss to species extinction, from extreme weather events, and the increase in flooding, droughts, and heatwaves. All of which is and will continue to cause vast disturbances to both the natural world, and the built environment.[3]

Increasingly frequent extreme weather events inflict immediate physical damage by dislodging tiles and breaking windows. Meanwhile, slower-onset hazards like rising sea levels and heavier precipitation create gradual issues like rot and metal corrosion that weaken a building’s structure. Together, these shocks and stresses […] undermine an asset’s stability, increase its vulnerability and, ultimately, reduce its value.[4]
Illustration of how EarthScan can work in the real world.

What is EarthScan?

To adapt, we need to be smarter, more prescient, more decisive, and more collaborative than ever before. We need new instruments and new insights. We need Climate Intelligence.[5]

Cervest offers the world’s first science-backed and AI-driven Climate Intelligence platform, starting with their flagship product EarthScan™, that enables business owners and managers to track and quantify how much their physical assets are at risk, and see how their assets could be affected by future climate risks. For the first time, asset owners and managers can find answers to key questions:

  • What are the biggest climate risks for our assets?

  • Which assets are most likely to be affected in future?

  • Where do the greatest opportunities lie?[6]

EarthScan displays a unified view of asset-level climate risk, providing critical analysis and insight into the probabilistic likelihood of climate shocks and stresses such as flooding, heatwaves and drought. It provides insights across multiple risks, timeframes and emissions scenarios simultaneously, for a complete picture of climate risk that’s dynamic and based on the latest peer-reviewed science. These insights allow for buildings to be adapted to protect against future risks, removing the potential issues and increasing asset lifespans, which is also a key feature in reducing embodied carbon emissions.

EarthScan has been available since last year through the Starter Program. According to the Head of EarthScan Himal Patel, Cervest will further democratize Climate Intelligence to everyone with a free offering later in 2022.[7]

An EarthScan™ Portfolio page, evidencing the different climate scenarios, risk categories, and risk levels

An EarthScan™ Portfolio page, evidencing the different climate scenarios, risk categories, and risk levels.[8]

Climate change will impact every single asset on the planet. Asset owners need visibility of the specific physical risks they’re facing. Climate Intelligence enables you to understand your exposure to climate risk and make climate intelligent decisions to protect your assets.[9]

How does it work?

As we also saw with Climate TRACE, AI technology, data modelling and machine learning feature heavily in the data collection with EarthScan, which Cervest combine with science-based insights to provide on-demand Climate Intelligence.

This Climate Intelligence can provide insight into historic, current, and upcoming risks, for the various risk categories and risk levels.

Risk categories:

  • heat stress (including heatwaves),

  • precipitation,

  • flooding (including coastal and riverine),

  • wind,

  • drought, and

  • combined physical risks.

Risk levels:

  • very low,

  • low,

  • medium,

  • high, and

  • very high.

This data is automatically updated on EarthScan's cloud-based interface and allows users to see insights into climate scenarios and risk categories in real time.[10]

EarthScan illustration, shows people looking at tablet technology and an computer generated image of a building

It also allows for improved building resiliency across different climate risk scenarios, including,

  • the ‘Business as Usual’ scenario, which explores the likely outcomes from the continued, unadulterated burning of fossil fuels,

  • the expected 2040 emissions peak,

  • and Paris-agreement aligned targets, in which it was hoped we could limit ‘global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.’[11]

By providing these granular levels of insights, EarthScan allows for building managers and asset owners to act confidently to meet resiliency targets, which can ‘nudge a chain reaction of climate-resilient decisions,’ which can drive ‘behaviour change (adaptation) at scale.’[12]

How is this beneficial for the construction industry?

Much of the world is now focussing on a low-or even net-zero- carbon futures, however, while this remains important to them, Cervest’s approach is slightly different.

“Much of the spotlight is on decarbonization today. While this is absolutely necessary, it is not sufficient to build asset-level resilience. To succeed, we need a complete and unified view of climate risk, simultaneously considering the impact of accelerating physical risks, alongside decarbonization investments and adjacent transition risks as we build a low carbon economy. This is exactly what Cervest will do, enabling everyone to become climate intelligent by making fully informed climate decisions.”[13]

While Cervest clearly acknowledges a move to decarbonisation is essential, they aim to do more. By delivering an EPC style rating for assets, EarthScan™ will allow asset managers and owners to prepare for the climate risks they are most likely to be impacted for, for example, flooding in low-lying coastal cities, while appropriately considering the impact of decarbonisation investment, enabling joint adaptation and decarbonization decisions for the first time.

This allows building managers to prepare for the climate emergency most likely to affect them, which is beneficial because it will focus attention and impact faster, generating more efficient change. By preparing for the outcome most likely to affect you, you can focus your attention, and lessen the impact of said event.

The utilisation of a theory based on Climate Intelligence, and measuring real-time, individual, localised risk factors seems an instrumental way to remove the mystery of providing asset protection from climate risks, while also considering a building’s carbon footprint.

Here at Adexon we look forward to the full launch of EarthScan™ later this year and remain hopeful that the impact that AI, machine learning, and data modelling can ‘[…] turn our climate goals from aspiration to reality.’[14]

___________________________________________________________________________ [1] Nasa, ‘The Effect of Climate Change,’ <> 08/03/2022 [2] National Climate Assessment, ‘Third National Climate Assessment Report,’ published May 2014. [3] Image from Cervest.Earth, ‘EarthScan,’ <> 08/03/2022 [4] Cervest, quote from ‘Infographic: How climate change is affecting your buildings,’ published 16.03.2022 by Cervest, <> [5] Cervest. Earth, ‘About,’ <> 08/03/2022 [6] Dr Benjamin Laken, ‘Introducing EarthScan™-Putting climate at the core of every decision,’ from Vimeo, <> [7] Quote from Himal Patel, from the UK Green Building Council webinar, ‘Solutions Showcase- Resilience and Nature-based solutions,’ live 09/03/2022. [8] Image from UK GBC, ‘EarthScan,’ published March 2022, courtesy of EarthScan <> [9] Cervest, quote from ‘Infographic: How climate change is affecting your buildings,’ published 16.03.2022 by Cervest, <> [10] Image from Cervest, given via email. [11] European Commission, ‘Paris Agreement,’ <> [12] UK GBC, ‘EarthScan,’ published March 2022, <> [13] Cervest CEO Bassi, quoted in, ‘Climate Risk Startup Cervest Secures $30 Million In Series A Funding Round,’ published by Jonny Tiernan, 24.05.2021, <> [14] Katherine Bennet, Chief Executive at High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HMVC) quoted in ‘Innovation: The Road to New Zero,’ from The Manufacturer, vol.25, Issue 1, published 02.2022, pages 56-58.

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