Climate Change Policy Developments

Following our Board meeting last month, non-executive director Alison Vipond shares her thoughts on the latest climate change policy developments….

I’m back from a blissful week on holiday with my family, and one of the things which made it blissful was that I was away from ‘the news’. I didn’t check email and only checked twitter a couple of times. (It’s hard to resist taking a peak!)

When I returned, I quickly fell back into the frenzy of digital communication, and immediately the stress levels went up. Things seem to be pretty bonkers in the world right now, and it is sometimes hard to find some good news. Besides the worrying political twists, turns and dramas on the national and international stage, there is also the very depressing fact that climate change is one of the biggest risks we face, and we are not galvanising ourselves, as one world, to address it. Are we in dangerous territory of ‘climate apathy’, where climate change is talked about too much, and we are used to scary records being broken?

On 2nd August, the Met Office news tweeted: “2015 – yet another year of record climate change”.

The latest state of the global climate report reveals 2015 was a record-breaking year, following on from 2014, which recorded the previous highest average global surface temperature.

In 2015 – the warmest year on record for the second year in a row – the Earth’s surface reached more than 1°C above pre-industrial levels for the first time since records began and the levels of dominant greenhouse gases again reached new high levels.

But on the same day, my spirits were raised by a tweet from Nick Hurd MP, the new Minister for Climate Change

“Encouraging signals that long term investors are shaking off carbon apathy and beginning to recognise climate risk”.

At last some good news. And good news for two reasons: Yes, since the Paris talks last December, institutional investors are indeed starting to realise the very real risks associated with fossil fuel investments, and that is a good thing. And yes, our Minister for Climate Change is drawing attention to ‘carbon apathy’ and ‘climate risk’.

There is hope!

Published: 10 August 2016

Author: Chris Meadows