The Future Of The Environment

How can we solve the impending climate crisis?




AS BRITAIN BECOMES THE FIRST G7 NATION TO SET A ZERO EMISSION TARGET BY 2050, WEATHERBYS PRIVATE BANK HOSTS ITS FUTURE FORUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE

What a happy coincidence that this excellent new policy was announced the morning after our two brilliant speakers – Gabrielle Walker and James Thornton, founder of Client Earth – spoke about what they were doing to address climate change and explain what our clients could do to help.

Gabrielle and James have listed their top 10 tips to help fight climate change. Below this you can watch videos of the speakers' presentations from the evening and there is also a written summary of the event.

TEN THINGS THAT JAMES, MARK AND GABRIELLE THINK WOULD HELP YOU TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE

Investment

  • Audit your investments for unpriced climate risk and missed opportunities to make ‘climate clean’ money

  • Align your portfolios with the Paris climate goals


Business

  • If you own a company or are on a company board, check whether you have a good climate strategy. Is your company contributing to the solution or is it just adding to the problem?

  • See if you can make your company carbon neutral - it costs less than 2% of pre tax profit

  • Transportation to work is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. Consider allowing your employees to work from home and telecommute several days a week

 
Philanthropy

  • For maximum impact leave the ‘low-hanging fruit’ alone. Look for hard things that need to happen and that are not being supported enough by others

  • Find the climate champions that are already being the most effective and give them what they need


Everyone

  • Change the narrative: tell everyone you know including the sceptics that climate change is real, serious, and ripe with both unpriced risks and untapped opportunities

  • Make a nuisance of yourself, especially if you are younger. It is definitely working!

  • Forego fossil fuels and invest in the change by divesting from oil stocks and investing in companies practicing carbon capture and storage

First we heard from from Gabrielle – who has an exceptional talent for getting into your soul and making you feel compelled to get involved.
 

   
She started with the bad news: reminding us of the statistics relating to temperature changes across the world.  In her words “it’s not subtle anymore”.
 
Then she gave us the good news.
 
First she told us about this net zero emissions policy i.e the political world had woken up.   
 
The second piece of good news is that the investment community has woken up.    They’ve realised that if you haven’t looked at the risk posed by climate change in relation to your investments you are in danger of losing large amounts of money.
 
The third piece of good news is that technology has already started to address the problems. For example all car companies are now almost exclusively focused on electric and there are other even more exciting innovations such as direct air capture i.e. capturing CO2 before it enters the atmosphere and burying it.  It’s not a long term strategy but an excellent short term emergency measure.

The fourth piece of good news: is about people power.  Most impressive is the influence of our children.  In line with Greta ‘s famous words - I want you feel the fear I feel. Behave as if the house is on fire – they are rattling all our cages.  Pester power has never been such a force for good.

But then she had a challenge for all of us in the room.  Change is not happening fast enough, and how are you all going to help speed it up?  She gave us a very nice example from Greek mythology – how Hercules diverted the river to clean out the Augean stables in one day – to inspire us.

The remarkable James Thornton then took the podium. He too started with some of the facts that should scare us all – for example the rate at which we are losing species on the planet.
 

 
His answer to the question of what can you do as a citizen of world is ‘become a lawyer’. 
 
He then went on to illustrate, very powerfully, what Client Earth has been able to do.  Changing the rules was his first focus:  they drafted law to stop the use of coal in Germany by 2035 and gave it the next Chancellor.
 
Second he talked about influencing the financial sector – in particular pension funds.    As it turns out they are not sceptical – they just needed to hear their questions answered professionally by someone they considered a peer.  Next he

Then he talked about holding governments to account.  They picked the issue of air pollution – scaring us again with the statistic that 400,000 people die early in the EU due to poor air quality.     After death threats, and much else besides, his team eventually stopped a plan to build coal fired power stations in Poland that would have significantly impacted the lives of the local population.

Finally he talked about making the system work better by using citizens power. His work in China was a real eye opener – it turns out they are way ahead of the game.  The government came to him asking for advice about how to enable citizens to sue companies for pollution. One thing lead to another and James ended up training thousands of judges so that they could implement the strategy he helped them create.   A year later he checked on progress and 48,000 cases had been initiated.
 
At the end there was a steady stream of questions from our clients.  One particularly powerful one was a very direct question:  How big a cheque would you like?”

To which James Thornton answered.  “We need in the region of £110 million to save the planet”.
 
Weatherbys are doing what they can to support the pressing need to address the climate change crisis.  As of today we are delighted to be part of a nation with a government determined to drive this change through policy.

The opinions referred to above are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect those of Weatherbys Bank Limited and should not in any way be construed as investment advice.  You should always ensure that you take independent investment advice when considering any investments or changes to investments to ensure you understand them and the potential risks.  Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.  The value of an investment and income received can go down as well as up.  You may not get back the amount you invested. 

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