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July 20, 2023

Editor’s note: ‘Time to speak up for climate action’

Everyone who believes that change must speed up should express their views loudly and clearly, and ensure their companies and strategies are in line with the Paris Agreement (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Everyone who believes that change must speed up should express their views loudly and clearly, and ensure their companies and strategies are in line with the Paris Agreement (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The latest edition of our Sustainable Views newsletter.

Welcome back to Sustainable Views.

As a journalist writing about climate change, ESG and all things sustainable, people often ask why I think it is that things aren’t transitioning faster. 

Science tells us all we need to know in terms of how the climate is changing and the effects this will have on people and nature. There is also plenty of research showing the probable impacts greater levels of warming and extreme weather events will have on the economy. And there is, one would have thought, all the evidence necessary to show things are not as they should be by simply stepping outside this summer or looking at the fires, heatwaves and floods ravaging countries around the world.

Yet, climate action is still not being taken in line with science, and the tools we are putting in place are not, at least not yet, fully fit-for-purpose for the challenge we face.

A report published today by CDP underlines the “wrongs and misalignments” in the ESG ecosystem and the need for regulators to act speedily to bring more coherence to ESG ratings and data products. Such corrections are vital if ESG is to help achieve global climate and environmental commitments, like the Paris Agreement and the Global Biodiversity Framework, says CDP. 

Meanwhile, research by Energy UK and Oxford Economics warns the UK will struggle to realise its net zero plans if its “weakened investment climate” continues and the government fails to step up with “ambition and decisive action”. 

And, as mentioned in yesterday’s newsletter, divisions continue between EU policymakers over how far measures should go to reduce emissions and environmental damage, and what decisions will, or will not, make life more difficult for business in the short-term. This time it was the turn of the EU’s proposed packaging rules to be picked apart by MEPs. 

Until there is a better common understanding between politicians, business and the general public about what we are trying to achieve with the transition to net zero, it seems difficult to see how progress can be made at the necessary speed. 

A report from researchers in Germany finds that “climate change”, along with “immigration”, creates the highest levels of polarisation between people in Europe. Interestingly though, a majority of those surveyed were of the view that policies intended to combat climate change “still do not go far enough”. 

With this in mind, the answer as to why climate action isn’t happening faster seems to be that we all need to make this call for action known. 

Everyone — bankers, investors, asset managers, CEOs, board members — who believes that change must speed up should express their views loudly and clearly, and ensure their companies and strategies are in line with the Paris Agreement. Only if people from all walks of life speak out, will politicians of all stripes be more likely to find the will to enact policies that will really deliver on climate change and the net zero transition.

Thanks for reading Sustainable Views during the past two weeks. Silvia will be back with you on Friday.

Philippa

Philippa Nuttall is EU correspondent at Sustainable Views

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