St. Patrick is on a Mission – #MissionFinance 1.5 C

Dublin, Climate Innovation Summit, 6-8 November 2018

We must reduce carbon emissions in the next 12 years and decarbonise the way we live, our society and economy by 2030. “Or what?” – you ask.

Or we shall overshoot the 1.5 C level of ‘safe’ global warming within which we can still manage to deal with the changes and consequences. It seems short, those 12 years. Can we do it?

Yes, we can. How much does it cost? Round 2.5 per cent of global GDP. Is that a lot?  Not really. It will cost way more later, when we will have to deal with the damage and consequences of global warming overshoot.

St. Patrick cannot help us, nor the shamrock. We have to do it on our own, we have to be smart and brave and stop thinking that it’s not possible to decarbonise the way we live now. It is possible to live differently – imagine the world we’d live in 2050. What will we eat and travel? Where will the energy we need come from? Imagine a technologically advanced and innovative world, with no fear, scarcity or austerity. We have the knowledge and there is enough money, the only question is where it goes and what kind of investments we make today. The scientists gathered in the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change say it is possible – that is the IPCC P1 LED scenario, one of the four suggested decarbonisation scenarios, which envisages a rapid decrease of global carbon emissions after 2020 due to reduced energy demand and transition to much more energy efficient technologies, practice and behaviour. That is a smart development scenario that we, as a society can and must afford.

Transformative explorer

Dennis Pamlin is a senior advisor at the Research Institute Sweden (RI.SE) or transformative explorer as he says. He gives another approach to the climate change problem. “The carbon emissions are not the problem, people who think we cannot live differently and drastically reduce them are the problem.”  His approach is – let’s work on people’s cognition. How we can change people and inspire them to imagine a better, smarter world we’d live in 2050 on our beautiful blue planet with more than 10 billion people? Let’s spark and encourage positive visions, creations and innovations that, instead of in small incremental steps, lead us to a fundamental systemic change. We must be ready to accept some risks. There are tools available, like the CRAM or Climate Risks for Asset Managers database that process data about climate risks for financial institutions and investors. What is important is to align all the investment plans with 1.5 C and to stop investing into fossil fuel dependent infrastructure.

Can we finance that? Yes. The main question is where does our money go? There are no excuses for carbon-based investments anymore. All carbon-based assets will lose their value in the near future. All the investments of pension funds, development funds and banks must be decarbonised, gradually but firmly. There must be mandatory disclosure of investment funds explaining where the money is invested, into what kind of assets and how it supports carbon emissions and impacts climate change. The investments of European institutions are moving from financing c