Tuesday 07/04/2020

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COP24: 10 climate-related facts we all need to be aware of

Responsible Investment Strategist

Marrakesh is not the only city in which a large UN Conference is held this month. The 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as the 24th Conference of the Parties or COP24, is set to come to a conclusion today. The Degroof Petercam responsible investment team lists 10 important facts which should not be overlooked.


For those who are not convinced yet, scientific evidence is compelling…

1. Since the late 19th century, our planet’s average surface temperature rose about 0.9 degrees Celcius. 2016 was the warmest year on record and eighteen of the 19 warmest years on record have happened since 2000.

(Source: NASA)

2. Global sea level rose about 20.32 centimeters in the last century and the rising rate is increasing every year. Moreover, the rate in the last two decades is nearly double that of the last century. 
(Source: NASA)

3. 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.
(Source: NASA)


People and assets are at risk…

4. An estimated 800 million people or 11% of the world’s population is currently vulnerable to climate change impacts such as droughts, wildfires, flooding, etc.

(Source: Conservation International)

5. Since 2008, each year an average of 21.5 million people have been forcibly displaced by weather-related events such as floods, storms, wildfires and extreme temperature. By 2050, this number could increase to 143 million people becoming climate migrants in just three regions (Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America).
(Source: UN Refugee Agency & Conservation International & World Bank)

6. The estimated value at risk, as a result of climate change, to the total global stock of manageable assets range from $4.2 trillion to $43 trillion between now and the end of the century. To make the jump to a lower-carbon economy, an estimated 1 trillion USD of investments a year are required for the foreseeable future, posing significant opportunities and challenges for investors and asset managers. 
(Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit and Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure)


The Paris pledges are the fundamentals, but will not be sufficient…

7. Total annual greenhouse gases emissions reached a record high of 53.5 GtCO2e in 2017, an increase of 0.7 GtCO2e compared to 2016. The Paris pledges are estimated to reduce global emissions in 2030 by ca. 6 GtCO2e (from a estimated 59 GtCO2e under current policies to 53 GtCO2e under the Paris Agreement). However, if we want to keep global warming below 2°C or even below 1.5°C, current ambitions need to be tripled to align with a 2°C scenario and quintupled to align with a 1.5°C. Hence, based on current pledges, we face a 2030 emission gap of respectively 13 or 29 GtCO2e.

(Source: UN Environment Programme)

8. The main goal of COP24 is the finalization of the Paris Rulebook, which sets out the tools and processes to enable full, fair and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. Nations will need to commit to review and revise their National Determined Contributions to align with 2050 plans for decarbonisation and close the emission gap.

9. To align with the required emission reductions, the EU will need to end the use of unabated coal by 2030. This requires major actions for some countries such as Poland, the host of COP24, since half of the country’s total energy mix depends on coal power plants, putting an estimated 100,000 Polish jobs at risk. This will undoubtedly impede the COP24 talks.
(Source: Enerdata & Principles for Responsible Investment)

10. Climate change transition does not only need to be fast, but also fair and just. COP24 will therefore also focus on the positive and negative implications of the climate transition for workers and communities, and as such, take the social dimension of the transition into account.
(Source: Principles for Responsible Investment)