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 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 in October 2018 by the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that re-examined the 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 the 2018 review established that the impacts would be catastrophic and potentially irreversible if the planet to were to exceed the +20C threshold,  and urgent action was instead warranted to contain the temperature below +1.50C.  

This would require the current level of emissions of carbon dioxide 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.

In fact, a review published by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) staff in November 2019 concluded that,  even if the total emissions reduction effort proposed recently by all countries were to be achieved, the annual gross carbon dioxide emissions from the Earth would in fact rise from 55 billion tonnes in 2018 to 61 billion tonnes in 2030.

 But as we move towards mid- 2020, not only are there are no strategic carbon reduction initiatives being considered within the ongoing international negotiations, but the global financial stress being generated by the current COVID pandemic will probably starve many economies of the resources they will require to take the strong action demanded in the short-to-medium term.

Climate change dominates non-financial disclosure.

 Climate change has become the , and reflected in efforts by nations, companies, NGOs and numerous other groups working to operationalise the Paris Agreement at a global and local level.

Climate change risk is acknowledged by most large companies and is identified as a material issue for most industry sectors.

The influential report of the G20’s Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure in June 2017 encourages companies to disclose information about their climate risks and in a way which is meaningful to the finance sector. In Australia regulators such as APRA are paying closer attention to climate risks.

Assessments are that national commitments made by nations under the Paris Agreement will not nearly be sufficient to meet the agreement’s 2 degree C or lower goal. Consequently it is widely expected that the future will see tougher government policies and regulations aimed at limiting climate change impacts and increasing transparency around corporate performance.

The frontier for leading climate change disclosure has moved beyond reporting on a company’s carbon footprint to include putting a price on carbon, science based targets and scenario analysis.

The status of the warming planet:   25 March 2019

We released a business briefing for private and public sector organisations that summarises the perspectives of the leading international bodies on the most likely trajectories of global warming and its impacts, initially over the next decade and then out to 2050.

The analysis concluded that there are two key drivers of the changes that will challenge the resilience of organisations exposed to the threats:

  • the direct impacts of the growing heat stress and extreme weather events that will become more prominent on most continents;  and from the significant physico-chemical alterations occurring across the world’s oceans and at the two polar ice caps.
  • the indirect impact of the substantial transformation of the world’s public and private financial systems as capital is progressively redeployed to new, low carbon emissions activities away from old and inefficient fossil fuel burning systems and uses.   The transition is already occurring in various forms.

Data analysed since its release is pointing to an acceleration of the extreme weather impacts it discussed, and in the melting of the worlds glaciers and polar ice caps.

Exposed organisations therefore need to identify and prioritize the threats this presents to the value chains underpinning their core businesses. They should then use this information to design strategies for adapting their operations to the emerging climate patterns,  and for reducing their carbon emissions.  

Their initiatives for preserving their productivity and resilience  should then be disclosed to key stakeholders to demonstrate how potential losses will be minimised, or perhaps even how new business opportunities could be captured.

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