Developing an Understanding of
the Climate Challenge

Developing an Understanding of the Climate Challenge

The resources below have been collated to provide non-executive directors with a knowledge hub.  This brings together relevant climate change materials from regulators, standard setters and other content creators.
Resources are provided based on our Terms and Conditions.

Newly added resources

Financial Times

Antartica’s ‘doomsday glacier’ and what it means for the planet

Thwaites Glacier is melting at an alarming rate, triggering fears over rising sea levels.

13 July 2020

Carbon Brief

How ‘discourses of delay’ are used to slow climate action

Outline of common features of climate delay discourses and a guide to identifying them, based on research published in Journal of Global Sustainability.

6 July 2020

The Economist

The Economist Climate Issue July

Fortnightly climate-change analysis round-up from The Economist

1 July 2020

Bloomberg Green

How to Tell Green Good Deeds From GreenwashingThe use of misleading labels or advertising can make it hard to determine what’s green and what’s “greenwashing”. This articles presents some questions that can help sort through the meaningful and otherwise.29 June 2020

BBC

Climate change ‘as urgent’ as coronavirusGreta Thunberg says the world needs to learn the lessons of coronavirus and treat climate change with similar urgency.20 June 2020 

Global Carbon Project

Temporary reduction in daily global CO2 emissions during COVID-19 confinementGovernment policies during the COVID-19 pandemic have drastically altered patterns of energy demand. This paper examines government policies and activity data to estimate the decrease in CO2 emissions.18 May 2020

BloombergNEF

BNEF Executive Factbook
Power, transport, buildings and industry, commodities, food and agriculture, capital

Highlights some of the strategic solutions that have a realistic chance of meeting the decarbonisation challenge in the timescale available, and how they relate to the key areas of the economy that must be transformed.

April 2020

National Engineering Policy Centre

Net Zero: A systems perspective on the climate challenge

Debates the scale and complexity of the net zero challenge, the need for systems thinking in tackling this challenge and the role of engineers alongside other disciplines.

May 2020

Aviva

The pros and cons of taxing emissions

A carbon tax imposes a tax on each unit of greenhouse-gas emissions and gives economic actors an incentive to reduce pollution whenever doing so would cost less than paying the tax. The tax is set by assessing the cost or damage associated with each unit of pollution and the costs associated with controlling it.
By contrast, a cap-and-trade system sets a maximum level of pollution and distributes emissions permits among firms. Companies must have a permit to cover each unit of pollution they produce, and can obtain these permits either through an initial allocation or auction, or through trading with other firms.
Economists such as Nordhaus prefer the former option, on the basis higher prices will encourage firms and consumers to find alternatives to carbon-based products as well as encourage new technologies to make those substitutes competitive. While this has become the mainstream view among environmental economists, the profession continues to debate the relative merits of price and quantity instruments. For instance, Harvard professor Martin Weitzman was not alone in arguing quantity instruments were likely to work best, at least under certain conditions.

28 February 2020

UN Global Compact 

Companies need to set more ambitious targets to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, United Nations Global Compact report shows.

June 2020

UN Environment Programme

Seagrass ecosystems play outsized role in combatting climate crisis. They cover only 0.1 per cent of the ocean floor but store up to 18 per cent of the world’s oceanic carbon

June 2020

EcoAct

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are underlined by 169 targets to be met by 2030. SDGs enable large organisations to make a public commitment to sustainable development and focus their environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts.

Sept. 2018

Previous reports, analysis and articles

Organisation / Publication / AuthorLinkInformationDate
The Guardian
Jonathan Watts
Climate worst-case scenarios may not go far enough, cloud data showsRecent modelling data suggests the climate is more sensitive to carbon emissions than previously believed; experts said the projections could be “incredibly alarming”.13/06/2020
Carbon Brief
Prof. Dave Frame et al
Cost of extreme weather due to climate change is severely underestimatedArticle that examines ‘event attribution’ and demonstrates that climate change is not only a future problem, but is costing us here and now.12/06/2020
Insurance JournalClimate Change Is Expected to Trigger Extreme Waves and Coastal ErosionArticle that introduces research led by University of Melbourne on extreme waves11/06/2020
Carbon Brief
Daisy Dunne
World population facing water stress could ‘double’ by 2050 as climate warmsIf global warming increases 2C above pre-industrial levels and future population growth is high, an additional 380 million people could face water stress by mid-century, when compared to the number in 2010.02/06/2020
The EconomistThe other crisis: Can covid help flatten the climate curve?Warming depends on the cumulative emissions to date; a fraction of one year’s toll makes no appreciable difference. But returning the world to the emission levels of 2010—for a 7% drop—raises the tantalising prospect of crossing a psychologically significant boundary. The peak in carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil fuels may be a lot closer than many assume. It might, just possibly, turn out to lie in the past.21/05/2020
New Scientist
Michael Le Page
Tropical cyclones really are growing stronger as the world warmsTropical cyclones around the world have grown stronger since the 1970s, just as theory and models predicted.18/05/2020
McKinsey & CompanyThe other global crisisVisual introductory overview of climate crisis with links to further reading.01/05/2020
The EconomistThe Economist’s coverage of climate changeSelection of latest climate coverage from The Economist.01/05/2020
The EconomistWhy tackling global warming is a challenge without precedentThe first of six weekly briefs looks at the history of efforts to limit greenhouse-gas emissions23/04/2020
BloombergNEFBNEF Executive Factbook Power, transport, buildings and industry, commodities, food and agriculture, capitalHighlights some of the strategic solutions that have a realistic chance of meeting the decarbonisation challenge in the timescale available, and how they relate to the key areas of the economy that must be transformed.22/04/2020
Yahoo ! News Patrick Galey AFPParis climate goals failure 'could cost world $600 tn'They found that the world would gain $336-422 trillion by 2100 if action was taken to keep warming to 2C and 1.5C respectively.
But if they fail to achieve the Paris temperature goals, countries stand to lose up to $600 trillion ($126-616 trillion) by century's end.
14/04/2020
IEAGlobal Energy Review 2020-The impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on global energyUncertainty surrounding public health, the economy and energy over remaining 2020 is unprecedented. This analysis charts a possible path for energy use and CO2 emissions in 2020, and highlights factors that could lead to differing outcomes.01/04/2020
The Climate CoalitionHome truths report - How climate change is impacting UK homes This winter we’ve seen flooding devastate communities. Our new report, backed by research from Priestley International Centre for Climate Change finds that extreme rainfall has increased by 40%, and the number of people in the UK facing floods during the winter is more than the population of Birmingham and Manchester combined.
This new report also shows that it is possible to make our homes fit for the future - and reduce their contribution to climate change. We can make our homes cosier and greener and cheaper to run. But to do this we need our government to ensure that all new homes are compatible with a net zero emissions target, help homeowners to make their houses more energy-efficient and improve flood defences in vulnerable areas.
01/02/2020
PWC
Navigating the rising tide of uncertainty – 23rd Annual Global CEO SurveyIn the world’s largest economies, where the need to reduce carbon emissions is greatest, CEOs broadly recognise the silver lining in the climate change cloud: new product and service opportunities (see Exhibit 17). China’s growing embrace is the most pronounced; in 2010, only 2% of China CEOs saw opportunity in the climate change crisis for new products and services. Now, nearly half (47%) do.01/01/2020
Project DrawdownThe Drawdown review 2020 – Climate Solutions for a New DecadeDrawdown is a critical turning point for life on Earth, and we must strive to reach it quickly, safely, and equitably. What follows is an overview of climate solutions in hand—now, today—to reach Drawdown and begin to come back into balance with the planet’s living systems. These solutions are tools of possibility in the face of a seemingly impossible challenge. They must not remain the domain of specialists or select groups. Widespread awareness and understanding of climate solutions is vital to kindle agency and effect change worldwide, across individual, community, organizational, regional, national, and global scales. People and institutions of all kinds, in all places, have roles to play in this great transformation, and the solutions in these pages are a synthesis of collective wisdom and collective action unfolding around the globe.01/01/2020
AvivaHow capitalism can help solve the climate crisisWhile this is a vast amount of money, the stock of capital in the capital markets is over $300 trillion. There is no shortage of capital to fund the climate transition. What is lacking is a clear plan and the financial incentives to deliver. The capital-raising plans coordinated by the IPCF would include a view on the infrastructure required, capital involved, and the financing that could be raised via infrastructure investment, project finance, corporate debt, foreign direct investment, equity investment as well as sovereign and multilateral development bank debt.01/01/2020
Global Carbon ProjectGlobal Carbon Budget 2019This report shows the per capita per person tCO2 for Europe is 6.9 versus China’s which is 7.0 and India of 2.Find out who the largest emitters are, pathways and remaining budget.04/12/2019
Nature.comClimate tipping points — too risky to bet againstPoliticians, economists and even some natural scientists have tended to assume that tipping points1 in the Earth system — such as the loss of the Amazon rainforest or the West Antarctic ice sheet — are of low probability and little understood. Yet evidence is mounting that these events could be more likely than was thought, have high impacts and are interconnected across different biophysical systems, potentially committing the world to long-term irreversible changes.27/11/2019
United Nations Environment ProgrammeEmissions Gap Report, 2019Under the current commitments we have only a 66% chance of reaching 3.2 degrees Celsius of global warming, this is catastrophic for the world and why significant action is needed in 2020. The report also provides insights into measures that can be taken to reach net zero coal GHG emissions.26/11/2019
Art. published in BioScienceWorld Scientists’ Warning of a Climate EmergencyScientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequiv-ocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.05/11/2019
SchrodersSchroders: Climate change dashboardA tool created to help Schroders’ analysts, fund managers and clients track climate action.04/10/2019
Science Advisory Group to UN Climate Action Summit 2019The United in Science report, convened by the Science Advisory Group of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019The report includes details on the state of the climate and presents trends in the emissions and atmospheric concentrations of the main greenhouse gases. It highlights the urgency of fundamental socio-economic transformation in key sectors such as land use and energy in order to avert dangerous global temperature increase with potentially irreversible impacts. It also examines tools to support both mitigation and adaptation.22/09/2019
PwCThe 2019 Low Carbon Economy IndexThe results make reaching the Paris Agreement targets extremely challenging without stronger Government policies. Progress on climate appears to have stalled and the Paris Agreement goal slips further out of reach as a decarbonisation rate of 7.5% per year is now needed to limit warming to 2°C. Boards will be increasingly challenged to deal with extreme weather impacts and growing climate policy risk.19/09/2019
The Global Commission on AdaptationA global call for leadership on climate resilienceUnder a “business-as-usual” emissions scenario, the US will lose 10.5% of its GDP, Japan, India and New Zealand will lose 10%, Switzerland will be down 12%, Russia 9% and the UK down by 4%.  The Global Commission on Adaptation shows how investing in adaptation, and in the innovation that comes with it, can unlock new opportunities and spur change across the globe.
The Commission is led by Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Kristalina Georgieva, CEO, World Bank
13/09/2019
Global Commission on AdaptationAdapt now: a global call for leadership on climate resilienceThis report focuses on making the case for climate adaptation, providing specific insights and recommendations in key sectors such as food security, water, infrastructure and finance.13/09/2019
BBCBBC briefing – energyThis briefing explores the challenge of how energy can be supplied affordably and reliably, while honouring the UK’s commitment to almost completely eliminating carbon emissions over the next three decades.06/09/2019
IPCCAn IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emissionDoes your business understand the financial, environmental, economic and socio-cultural risks of a 1.5°C warmer world?08/10/2018
Organisation /
Publication /
Author
LinkInformationDate
Foresight
Climate & Energy
Leading thoughts from energy transition expertsVariety of articles including on climate justice, EU Green deal, clean hydrogen01/05/2020
Financial TimesHow coronavirus stalled climate change momentumUltimately the full impact of the virus on climate change will be determined by the shape of the stimulus measures adopted in
a post-pandemic world. In the aftermath of the 2008-09 financial crisis, the energy intensive stimulus measures that followed, particularly in China, boosted emissions. Since then the prevailing wisdom has been that environmental concerns go out the window in the face of a huge economic shock. “There is a scenario where there is a dash for growth,” says Mr Betts. “Will China build new power plants? Will Trump roll back environmental standards? That debate needs to start.”
14/04/2020
World Economic ForumThe A-Z of the Energy Transition: Knowns and UnknownsEnergy transition will create opportunities for wealth formation and can lead to greater prosperity. There will also be transition costs. This paper highlights areas of relative certainty (the knowns), driven largely by technological development and market forces as well as ‘unknowns’, mostly related to political economy.01/04/2020
edieNine top tips for developing and delivering a net-zero strategyWhile the coronavirus outbreak is undeniably top-of-mind at present, mid-to-long-term planning for decarbonisation remains crucial in light of the global climate crisis - and, on a national basis, the UK Government's 2050 net-zero target. Here, edie rounds up nine top tips for organisations looking to develop and deliver net-zero strategies during this crucial decade.24/03/2020
Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI)TPI State of Transition Report 2020 The latest in a series of annual stocktakes of the progress being made by the world’s biggest and most emissions-intensive public companies on the transition to a low-carbon economy.
On Management Quality, nearly 40 per cent of companies are demonstrably unprepared for the transition.
On Carbon Performance, more than 80 per cent of companies remain off track for a 2°C world.
20/03/2020
Catapult Energy SystemsLiving Carbon FreeExploring what a net-zero target means for households.01/03/2020
EDIE Sustainability leaders forum
In association with Orsted
The 2020 Sustainable Business LeadershipThis second annual survey reveals what "business leadership" looks like for sustainability, CSR and energy professionals across the UK, following our inaugural report in 2019.The report looks at key questions such as: Was 2019 a successful year from a sustainable business perspective? How optimistic do sustainability and energy professionals feel about the year ahead? What have the dual challenges of net-zero target setting and Science-based targets meant for sustainability professionals? And what are the business traits and personal skills required to turn those commitments into actions in 2020?04/02/2020
The Climate CoalitionHow climate change is impacting UK homesThis winter we’ve seen flooding devastate communities. Our new report, backed by research from Priestley International Centre for Climate Change finds that extreme rainfall has increased by 40%, and the number of people in the UK facing floods during the winter is more than the population of Birmingham and Manchester combined.

This new report also shows that it is possible to make our homes fit for the future - and reduce their contribution to climate change. We can make our homes cosier and greener and cheaper to run. But to do this we need our government to ensure that all new homes are compatible with a net zero emissions target, help homeowners to make their houses more energy-efficient and improve flood defences in vulnerable areas.
01/02/2020
LSENegative emissions under a net zero target: navigating the controversies and pitfallsAs the new 2050 target, now enshrined in law, is to reduce emissions to net zero, it is important to distinguish between gross zero and net zero. A gross emissions target reduces all emissions, in all sectors, uniformly to zero. Net zero allows for some residual emissions in sectors where abatement is either too expensive or technologically not possible – on the assumption that they are offset by deeper emissions cuts elsewhere. This can be achieved using nature-based solutions (e.g. afforestation) or engineered sinks (e.g. using bio-energy with carbon capture and storage [BECCS] or direct air capture technology [DAC]). Net negative emissions are achieved when gross negative emissions match or exceed gross positive emissions.01/02/2020
Bank of EnglandThe 2021 biennial exploratory scenario on the financial risks from climate change discussion paperYou will be aware of the three scenarios that capture a range of prudent estimates for transition pathways and climate outcomes. You will be able to assess your business’ resilience in light of these macroeconomic scenarios:
- Early policy action scenario
- Late policy action scenario
- No additional policy action scenario
18/12/2019
The Carbon TrustWhat is net zero?Unlike other terms, such as carbon neutral, there is no commonly agreed definition of what constitutes net zero emissions. However, this may be about to change. In September, the SBTi published a discussion paper – ‘Towards a science-based approach to climate neutrality in the corporate sector’ – containing a working definition of net zero to inform corporate net zero targets.13/11/2019
World Economic ForumThe speed of the energy transitionA paper on the speed of the energy transition.12/09/2019
Organisation / Publication / AuthorLinkInformationDate
AvivaThe pros and cons of taxing emissionsA carbon tax imposes a tax on each unit of greenhouse-gas emissions and gives economic actors an incentive to reduce pollution whenever doing so would cost less than paying the tax. The tax is set by assessing the cost or damage associated with each unit of pollution and the costs associated with controlling it.

By contrast, a cap-and-trade system sets a maximum level of pollution and distributes emissions permits among firms. Companies must have a permit to cover each unit of pollution they produce, and can obtain these permits either through an initial allocation or auction, or through trading with other firms.

Economists such as Nordhaus prefer the former option, on the basis higher prices will encourage firms and consumers to find alternatives to carbon-based products as well as encourage new technologies to make those substitutes competitive. While this has become the mainstream view among environmental economists, the profession continues to debate the relative merits of price and quantity instruments. For instance, Harvard professor Martin Weitzman was not alone in arguing quantity instruments were likely to work best, at least under certain conditions.
28/02/2020
AvivaAIQ - The climate edition Apathy, Anger, Action / The psychology of climate changeCarbon taxes are more likely to work if the punitive measures are offset with economic sweeteners that appeal to our preference for short-term rewards. The British Columbia carbon tax came bundled with other measures that lowered income tax and health insurance premiums and kept citizens onside. Companies also benefited from corporation tax cuts.

No such incentives were offered in France. Neither was the money raised by the tax allocated wholly to projects that might bring tangible green benefits (a measure that tends to make the public more amenable13); much of it was simply added to the federal coffers.
France’s policy also offended people’s sense of fairness. Because many companies were exempt, the carbon tax was deemed to be regressive. As so often with climate change, the issue became tangled up with wider political and social dynamics such as inequality, and fomented an “us versus them” mentality, with Emmanuel Macron’s administration cast as the enemy. In fact, the French carbon tax activated all of the “PAIN” points identified earlier: It was seen to be Personal, Abrupt, Immoral and happening right Now.
01/01/2020
World Business Council for Sustainable DevelopmentCarbon Pricing WBCSD Policy Paper 2019Presents the reasons why business supports carbon pricing as a critical enabler to raise climate ambition and calls on policy makers to establish and extend current carbon pricing mechanisms.19/11/2019
Carbon Pricing Leadership CoalitionUnderstanding Carbon PricingA helpful introduction to carbon pricing01/01/2018
AvivaStranded, when assets become liabiltiesProjects most at risk include those with high operating costs or a high carbon intensity of production; large upfront capital commitments and long investment lead times; and a higher carbon content. These include oil sands, shale and extra-heavy oil, as well as reserves of higher-grade oil and gas in deep waters and other hard-to-access sites like the Arctic. In December 2019, US investment bank Goldman Sachs ruled out financing oil drilling or exploration in the Arctic in future, adding it would not invest in new thermal coal mines anywhere in the world.01/01/2020

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