15 June 2016

EIA Summer Conference 2016

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  • Climate change is the new normal

    16 January 2013

    Do you remember when the seasons were a lot more distinct? When temperatures fell gradually as winter approached? No longer… change is the new normal.

    Climate change is a common theme in ethical investment. In negative screening, for example, it rules out investment in energy companies that are causing unacceptable environmental damage. In positive screening, it can highlight companies that are active in the renewable energy sector. Where an ethical fund concentrates on an “engagement” policy – lobbying companies to improve their practices – climate change is again a major topic.

    Climate change is present in our lives in many forms – floods across the UK, substantial rises in some food prices, due to sharp temperature swings in agricultural areas – the list is long. So, why is it challenging for some people to engage with climate change, and to take into consideration what it means for us in the UK, and across the world?

    An interesting answer to that question comes in comments about a major US report on climate change this week from Chris Rapley, Professor of Climate Science at University College London. “Most people in the UK and US accept human-induced climate change is happening but respond by focusing attention elsewhere. We dismiss the effects of climate change as ‘not here’, ‘not now’, ‘not me’ and ‘not clear’.

    He continues: “This compelling new assessment by the US experts [the newly issued national climate assessment report, written by a team of 240 scientists] challenges all four comforting assumptions. The message is clear: now is the time to act!”

    How large would the ethical investment sector be if all investors heeded that message?

    Tanya Pein (co-Chair of the Ethical Investment Association), writing in a personal capacity.
    Investment specialist, advising charities and individuals, at In2 Consulting

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