To no great surprise, climate change has emerged as one of the most significant global risks both in terms of likelihood of occurrence and global impact.
The World Economic Forum (“WEF”) Global Risks Report 2019 specifically describes this as the impending climate change catastrophe. The question I ask is how many more signals do we need to tell us we are sleep walking our way to disaster with consequences beyond our wildest imagination.
Why is there not panic on the streets and why are Governments not implementing emergency plans to accelerate mitigation measures and why are we continuing to conduct our daily routines as if nothing had changed. The reality today is that we are not implementing solutions or developing policies quickly enough, we are not innovating sufficiently and we are not mobilising enough capital to work in the areas where it is most required. Why not?
Our natural inclination is always to blame Governments whoever they might be – these are the people we have elected to take actions so that we can continue with our daily lives. However, until such time as the general public at large accept that this is one of the defining issues of our time, we will not see sufficient concrete action to affect change with the degree of acceleration that is required.
What we now need is to grow climate consciousness around the world so that the general public can appreciate the full extent of this crisis including the reality that it is going to impact on all of our lives before too long and in turn support and push governments to take the necessary policy decisions.
Don’t get me wrong – there is some really great work being done around the world on innovation and mobilisation of capital agendas and many governments are reacting in a positive and constructive manner. Governments have already recognised the seriousness of the issue but until their electorates respond with appropriate pressure and concern, the degree of policy change we require is not going to happen. Therefore, I think it is incumbent on all of us who are active across the climate change agenda to redouble our efforts to create an environment of climate consciousness (not in any way taking away from the many other actions we can do in our daily lives). I see two key actions as follows:
There is hope on the horizon. I and my many colleagues in KPMG and people in many other organisations all over the world believe we have solutions to fight climate change. There is now a willingness to collaborate on a global basis. However, without dealing with the climate consciousness agenda which in turn will create the framework for a new policy environment, we can only do so much and we will continue to run into policy barriers.
The reality is that unless we address this issue now, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will face its most serious challenge.