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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

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The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

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The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

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Key Challenges to Achieving Net Zero I

Key Challenges to Achieving Net Zero I

Keith Mullin

35 years: Capital markets editorial

In this video, Keith will be making some observations about the impediments to hitting net-zero targets. Specifically, where is the money going to come from to finance climate goals? Is our reluctance to fundamentally change the ways we live our lives, particularly in the affluent West, a roadblock? And is insufficient government action the major hurdle?

In this video, Keith will be making some observations about the impediments to hitting net-zero targets. Specifically, where is the money going to come from to finance climate goals? Is our reluctance to fundamentally change the ways we live our lives, particularly in the affluent West, a roadblock? And is insufficient government action the major hurdle?

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Key Challenges to Achieving Net Zero I

13 mins 42 secs

Overview

The IPCC climate report of April 2022 received widespread coverage. It stated that without deep cuts, limiting global warming to one and a half degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times will be beyond reach. To hit that target, greenhouse gas emissions will have to peak by 2025 and fall 43% by 2030. Is that doable? Do we really have a choice? One of the biggest challenges to overcome is securing the capital funding for net zero. We need to change investors perceptions of investing in sustainable finance. Other challenges of reaching net zero include lack of willingness to change our lifestyles as well as insufficient government action.

Key learning objectives:

  • Understand where the money is going to come from to finance climate goals

  • Understand how our lifestyles are a roadblock to hitting the net zero target

  • Determine whether insufficient government action is a major hurdle to hitting net zero

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Summary

How much capital is needed for net zero and where will it come from? 

Garnering enough capital is the most critical theme when it comes to climate goals.This includes money to fund green R&D and technology innovation, and to create green employment at global scale to support the move away from our fossil-fuel-based economy. The IPCC report says financial flows to limit global warming are three to six times lower than levels needed by 2030. The IPCC believes barriers to directing capital to climate action are the problem. From within the financial sector, they include:  

  • Inadequate assessment of climate risks and investment opportunities
  • A regional mismatch between available capital and investment needs
  • Country indebtedness
  • Economic vulnerability
  • Limited institutional capacities
  • Home bias factors

Barriers from outside the financial sector include:

  • Limited local capital markets
  • Unattractive risk-return profiles, in particular due to missing or weak regulatory environments consistent with ambition levels
  • Limited institutional capacity to ensure safeguards
  • Standardisation, aggregation, scalability and replicability of investment opportunities and financing models
  • A pipeline ready for commercial investments

The IPCC says the biggest challenge in climate finance is likely to be in developing countries, given that developed economies have well-developed financial markets and high sovereign credit ratings.

Even if many of the barriers to capital flows are in the process of being addressed, it’s broadly accepted that public finance alone will not be able to bridge the financing gap. By definition, significant allocations of private capital are needed. Getting enough money for climate-based investments will involve truly massive redirection and potential return give-up to make climate change the principal focus of the public and private investment.

That’s asking a lot. So, what if governments took capital allocation into their own hands and enforced mandatory directed lending? Officially mandated capital allocation would up-end the current version of free-market capitalism and notions of efficient capital allocation, but bringing in some form of control economics would ensure capital was allocated to the right destinations from the perspective of climate goals.

Are our lifestyles preventing net zero?

Our collective complacency is fanned by the lack of scientific consensus or scientific certainty about the impacts of climate change – or even that climate change is real or that it is man-made. Refusing to accept that we will need to live our lives differently to meet climate goals is a form of climate denial and a major block to action. 

As for our economic systems, these are driven relentlessly in the West by an imperative to grow in perpetuity. We’re told that failure to do so will result in ruinous consequences for us all. Growth is built on over-consumption and driven by an unremitting pursuit of cheap and non-recyclable goods that don’t allow producers to factor in the costs required to make that production sustainable because it will result in goods being more expensive.

Ambitious climate policies and legislation are moving us in the right direction. And so will innovative technologies and new production processes. But achieving net-zero will also require us to make significant changes to our lifestyles. And those changes may not be voluntary.

 

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