Providing insight for effective Climate Change response
In response to the multifaceted challenges presented by climate change, the WEF calls for a ‘resilience imperative – an urgent necessity to find new avenues and more opportunities to mitigate, adapt to and build resilience against global risks and threats through collaboration among different stakeholders’.
The implications for society, and businesses that operate as key members within it, are significant. The ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 1998; and 2015 was the warmest yet. Scientists agree that this warming trend is extremely likely to be the result of human activity, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels. Scientists also agree that limiting the increase in temperature to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels is necessary to avoid dangerous climate changes and their impact on food security, water scarcity and human health.
Without action, average warming in the region of 3.7–4.8°C is expected by 2100, with severe, irreversible impacts on natural systems and society.
Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation is -
At the end of 2015, a big shift from business as usual was achieved with the signing of the Paris Agreement at COP21. The agreement indicated that all 195 countries planned to be more ambitious in their climate efforts. With the climate agreement taking effect in 2020, governments will likely implement new requirements for reporting on climate issues, with additional mitigation and adaptation measures being rolled out.
Vulnerability assessments help to scope the most serious risks using indices of climate exposure, hazard intensity and environmental outcomes.
Many countries have put the regulation of fossil fuels front and centre of their plans and are also setting targets for renewables and low-emission vehicles. This is true for South Africa, too, with the move towards a national carbon tax being of particular note.
The tax forms part of South Africa’s national response and will have implications for business, as will mandatory carbon emissions reporting, company-level carbon budgets and up-scaled national adaptation and mitigation programmes.
‘Companies have to communicate to consumers about what they are selling and they have to do it in a way that incorporates the whole of their footprint … It’s great for the environment, and by the way it’s also good for economics. It’s both.’