Climate change

We assist our clients to:

  • Conduct scenario analyses to identify their climate risks and opportunities in order to enhance organisational resilience
  • Develop performance targets for emission reduction or risk mitigation programs that are based on contemporary science
  • Report publicly on the performance of their climate change related activities
  • Keep abreast of key changes occurring in the science of climate change, and the relevant policy and regulatory settings.

A landmark publication was released on 9 August 2021 by the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that re-examined the science underpinning progression of global warming and its impacts.

The IPCC had previously released five scientific assessments over its 30 year history.   Each focussed on the importance of ensuring that the temperature at the surface of the Earth remained at less than 20C above that which prevailed in pre-industrial times.

But now the 6th Assessment confirms that the impacts would be catastrophic, and potentially irreversible, if the planet were to exceed the +20C threshold.   Urgent action is warranted instead to contain the temperature below +1.50C.  

Both the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have recently published reports stating, that to do so,  the current global level of emissions of carbon dioxide would need to be halved by 2030 –  a truly daunting concept noting the world’s fundamental and overwhelming reliance on the burning of coal, oil and gas across the planet.

They also show that the net anthropocentric emissions of carbon dioxide in 2030 will most probably be the same as they were in 2020, namely 40 billion tonnes.  If correct, there will need to be an urgent decarbonisation of energy and industrial production activities across the world if the critical threshold temperature increases are to be avoided.

It is therefore not surprising that climate change risk is acknowledged as a material issue for the financial viability of many large international organisations,  across a wide range of industry sectors.  

Their concern is augmented by the strong commitment of the EU, UK and now in 2021, the US, to implement policies and laws that will drive a transition away from fossil fuels.  The Heads of Government meeting in Glasgow in November 2021 will review the status of the Paris Agreement, and is certain to focus on the carbon emissions gap that must be closed.

In the interim, there is growing demand for transparency around the carbon emissions footprint of energy-intensive organisations, and about the threats that climate change presents to the value-chain underpinning their core business.

Their initiatives for preserving productivity and resilience should then be disclosed to key stakeholders to demonstrate how potential losses will be minimised;  or perhaps how new business opportunities could also be captured.  In fact, many leading investment houses are already demanding this data when assessing requests from exposed organisations for capital injections.

The Middle Way can assist by providing methods for setting carbon reduction performance targets and developing business resilience plans.  This includes conducting scenario analyses to identify cost-effective investment paths for each outcome.