A new Royal Society report calls for changes to global financial accounting and regulation to ensure extreme weather risk is correctly accounted for
It’s extraordinary how the financial markets that pride themselves on their data analysis and forecasting have such a blind spot when it comes to the impacts of climate change.
I was reminded of this by a new report released today from the Royal Society, which calls on our global financial systems to start considering the risks posed by extreme weather, or risk condemning millions of people to die.
Until these risks are accurately evaluated and reported, companies will have limited incentives to reduce them, and valuations and investment decisions will continue to be poorly informed.
Although some disaster risk information is already disclosed and used by investors, the data and procedures for making assessments are not standardised, which can limit their usefulness. Ultimately, without financial reform, people’s resilience will be undermined in the future.
If two otherwise identical international companies have different resilience to extreme weather risks, then one should have a proportionately lower share price or valuation to reflect this higher financial risk.
As the frequency and severity of extreme events is increasing, there is increasing exposure of assets to risk. This brings an ever larger disconnect between material risk and asset valuation. Unless financial reforms are made to correct this, we will condemn ourselves to building vulnerable cities in the coming decades at the cost of millions of lost lives and livelihoods and billions of lost dollars, often across regions and communities that can least afford these catastrophic setbacks.
The more extreme scenarios modelled represent financial disaster; the assets of pension schemes will effectively be wiped out and pensions will be reduced to negligible levels.
Currently, actuarial models are effectively discounting to zero the probability of economic growth being limited by resource constraints. If resource constraints are significant, this means that current models will persistently understate the value of liabilities.Continue reading...
Major reef system in south-east Asia could be unusually resilient to climate change, Catlin Seaview Survey suggests
If humans are driving earth’s sixth great extinction event, coral reefs will be one of the first and most visible ecosystems to succumb. Scientists estimate that by 2050, the ocean could be largely devoid of reefs as climate change and our relentless plundering of the sea set in motion geological changes not seen for millions of years.
But according to the Catlin Seaview Survey, a multi-year project to map the world’s coral reefs, there may be evidence that certain reefs in the Coral Triangle could resist longer than others. The project is using cutting-edge camera technology and a big-data approach to establish baselines for key indicators like health, diversity, decline and resilience.Continue reading...
In a speech delivered in Bristol today, Chris Boardman stressed that bold targets and increased funding are needed if the draft government UK cycling plan is to deliver real change
Last year the prime minister stood next to our Olympians, Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, and said that he wants, and I quote directly:
To kickstart a cycling revolution which would remove the barriers for a new generation of cyclists. This means a nation where cycling levels rival those in Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany.Continue reading...
Clean energy produced more power in Scotland than nuclear, coal or gas for the first time, in first half of 2014 industry figures show, reports BusinessGreen
Renewable energy in Scotland from wind farms, hydro power plants and other clean technologies provided the single largest source of electricity to the country for the first time, in the first half of 2014, new industry figures will show on Thursday.
Analysis by the trade body Scottish Renewables shows that renewables produced nearly one third more power than nuclear, coal or gas in the first six months of the year, generating a record 10.4 terawatt hours (TWh) during the six-month period.Continue reading...
National Green Tribunal directs all vehicles older than 15 years be taken off capital’s roads in bid to tackle bad air quality
India’s environment court has slammed the government over the capital’s horrendous air pollution, which it said was “getting worse” every day, and ordered a string of measures to bring it down.
The National Green Tribunal directed all vehicles older than 15 years be taken off New Delhi roads, pollution checks undertaken for all state-run buses and air purifiers installed at the city’s busy markets.Continue reading...
Frogspawn spotted in Cornwall, months before the usual spring spawning time, is earliest sighting in almost a decade
Mild autumn weather has led to frogs breeding five months early, with frogspawn sighted in Cornwall this week. It is the earliest frogspawn recorded in nearly a decade.
The Woodland Trust was alerted to the frogspawn by a National Trust ranger, who had spotted the common frog’s spawn at the North Predannack Downs nature reserve on the Lizard Peninsula.Continue reading...
A combination of global warming and population growth means more people will be exposed to extreme weather systems, with an ageing population particularly at risk from heatwaves, says Royal Society
The double whammy of global warming and a growing, ageing population will mean peoples’ exposure to deadly heatwaves will multiply tenfold this century, according to a new report from the Royal Society.
The researchers from the UK’s science academy warn the world is not prepared for the extreme weather which is already being exacerbated by climate change today.
Levels fell to second-lowest level in quarter century, Brazil’s environment minister said, in wake of adoption of controversial bill revising the Forest Code
Deforestation in the Amazon rain forest dropped 18% over the past 12 months, falling to the second-lowest level in a quarter century, Brazil’s environment minister said on Wednesday.
Izabella Teixeira told participants at a news conference that 4,848 square kilometers (1,870 square miles) of rain forest were destroyed between August 2013 and July 2014. That’s a bit larger than the US state of Rhode Island.Continue reading...
A new study looks at the future of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and finds that by the end of this century, the region might be ice-free for 2 to 5 months, something that puts bears in grave peril.
Public health groups say lower levels will benefit people who suffer from asthma or other respiratory illnesses. Business groups say it's another expensive hoop to jump through.
Tokyo’s chief negotiator at the International Whaling Commission attacks ‘eco-imperialist’ countries who want a ‘stupid’ ban on hunting
Australia’s “imperialist” campaign against whaling is akin to restricting the right of Japanese women to wear the kimono, the country’s chief negotiator at the International Whaling Commission has said.
Joji Morishita, the head of Tokyo’s delegation to the International Whaling Commission, said Japan would defy “eco-imperialist” anti-whaling countries – led by Australia and New Zealand – and resume the slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean in late 2015.
Every time you enter the ocean, anywhere on Earth with a temperate or subtropical climate, you cross into the domain of the great white shark. But almost everything the average human thinks he or she knows about these sharks – other than the fact that they are big and dangerous – is wrong. We unpick 10 of the most tenacious mythsContinue reading...
France has two months to justify ‘environmental deterioration’ involved in the Sivens dam project
The European commission has sent France a final notice to explain how it can reconcile EU environmental law with a proposed dam project that sparked riots, which claimed a protester’s life last month.
Rémi Fraisse, a 21-year-old student, died after being hit in the back by a grenade during police attempts to prevent a site occupation on 25 October.Continue reading...
Ships will have to start monitoring emissions from 2018, in a first step towards curbing growing pollution from the sectorContinue reading...
The rules would lower the threshold for ozone from 75 parts per billion to between 65 ppb and 70 ppb. They are likely to be opposed by industry groups as well as Republicans.
British politicians need the cross-party, long-term vision that made the Climate Act possible six years ago, if they are to stay the course on climate change
The British political landscape at the end of 2014 is fraught with uncertainty, distrust and fragmentation.
Parties are struggling to bolster support as political debates become ever more divisive. Voters see politicians as out of touch and motivated by short-term, self-serving concerns.Continue reading...
Study reveals seals along the coast of the Netherlands are switching from eating fish to eating mammal
Seals have been identified as the killers behind the mystery of dead porpoises found with distinct mutilations on Dutch beaches over the past decade.
The cause of large numbers of harbour porpoises washing up on the Netherlands coast was previously unknown and contested, but an eight year-long study concludes that grey seals have “learned a new trick” and are preying on them.Continue reading...
Five key timber importers, including UK, France and US, have made progress in cutting down on contraband timber, reports Mongabay
Five major timber importers have made progress in cutting contraband wood from their markets since 2010, argues a series of reports published by Chatham House.
The analysis — which covers Britain, France, Japan, the Netherlands, and the US — is based on point-of-origin data for timber imports. For example, countries and states with a high risk of illegal logging and timber laundering would hurt an importer’s rating.
Gut parasite will increase in prevalence across northern Europe as temperatures rises, leading to honey bee losses
Climate change threatens the survival of the UK’s honey bee population, new academic research has claimed.
An exotic parasite which targets the insects is set to flourish in northern Europe if the Earth continues to warm, scientists at Queen’s University, Belfast found.Continue reading...