What can be done about the shocking findings from the IPCC report?
Last week, the news agenda was full to the brim with devastating headlines and pictures showing the damage we are doing to our planet. Firstly, we read the terrifying news that the Gulf Stream is on the brink of collapse, which would be “one of the planet’s main potential tipping points” if this were to happen. Secondly, we have seen the heartbreaking pictures of wildfires in the United States, Greece, Turkey and Algeria – with Turkey’s fires being the worst in the country’s history, with 175,000 hectares burnt already this year. And finally, the IPCC released its landmark study which was described as a “code red” for humanity.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the intergovernmental body of the United Nations, made up of the world’s leading climate experts. Released every seven years, this groundbreaking report usually reveals some shocking home truths, but this year’s is unlike any other.
It states that hitting 1.5C above 1850-1900 levels by 2040 is inevitable, even under all predicted emission scenarios. This is likely to have the below future impacts:
- The Arctic is expected to be practically ice-free in September at least once before 2050 in all scenarios assessed
- There will be an increasing occurrence of some extreme events “unprecedented in the historical record” even at a warming of 1.5C
- Extreme sea-level events that occurred once a century in the recent past are projected to occur at least annually at more than half of tidal gauge locations by 2100
- There will be likely increases in fire weather in many regions.
However, it does offer some small glimmer of hope. If we can cut global emissions in half by 2030 and reach net-zero by the middle of the century, then we might be able to halt and possibly even reverse the rise in temperatures.
Of course, this should be a wakeup call for large companies and politicians to act now and implement policies and measures that will have a large, meaningful and fast-acting effect. But does that mean the responsibility is solely with them and that the people who care about the planet the most need to just watch others struggle to save it? No.
We can all play our part in reversing the effects of the climate crisis through taking one simple step today – moving our pension and investments from conventional funds to portfolios that hold only responsible, sustainable funds.
Doing this is the most powerful thing we can do to protect our planet, and the only thing impactful enough to make a difference in the little time we have left. For example, research by our friends at Make My Money Matter found that making your pension green is 21 times more effective than cutting your carbon down by giving up flying, becoming vegetarian and switching to a renewable energy provider, combined.
It is also financially beneficial, with recent studies showing that the ROI of impact-only portfolios is similar to, if not higher than, its industry standard alternatives. This means that there is no longer a need to sacrifice performance for purpose – thoughtful investors can have their cake and eat it too.
At Path Financial, we are the UK’s first impact-only financial advisor firm set up to tackle the climate crisis. We have already helped hundreds of families, couples and individuals move their pension from portfolios that were propping up destructive industries like coal mining, deforestation and tobacco production, to ones that we are proud to be supporting such as habitat protection, green energy and clean water.
In doing this, each of these thoughtful individuals can rest easy knowing that they have stepped up and made the easiest, most impactful change today – one that will protect our planet’s tomorrow.
Each person who takes the small step of switching their pension is part of a more hopeful outlook for all.