The clock is ticking on global warming, the Dominion-Post warned this week ahead of the Climate Change Summit in Glasgow.
The opening paragraph of the report was ominous:
“Even after countries — excluding NZ — unveiled ambitious new pledges to cut emissions, it’s still not enough to achieve the global of 1.5 degrees Celsius of climate warming, a new report found.”
The article points out that NZ has been notably absent from the burst of announcements that have been made, but suggests we may make our declaration in Glasgow.
It argues that, as a small economy, NZ’s nationally determined contributions (NDCs) will not sway the dial much.
But Green co-leader James Shaw, who is representing NZ at the conference, may find anything he says is not greeted with applause. NZ, like Australia, is regarded as a laggard on climate change.
The biggest emitters of all may be keen to divert attention from their own actions. China, for example, is responsible for 28% of global emisssions and is reported to be building more fossil-fuelled power stations.
James Shaw is said to be taking 26 advisers with him. He is a dedicated disciple of action to avert climate change and almost certainly volunteered for the Glasgow mission .
Back in NZ, there is some trepidation as the outcome of COP26 is awaited. The agricultural industries on which the country depends for much its export earnings these days fear that the big emitters’ focus on methane emissions will be targeted.
For that reason it might have been expected PM Jacinda Ardern would have represented NZ at the summit, seeking to generate goodwill. She might have brought her charm into play to divert attention from our agricultural emissions.
As the world leaders were preparing for Cop26, the first big scare of the green era (as The Economist put it) was unfolding. Since May the price of a basket of oil, gas, and coal has soared by 95%.
The resultant panic is a reminder that modern life needs abundant energy
The panic has also exposed the deeper problems as the world shifts to a cleaner energy system.
“Without rapid reform there will be more energy crises and perhaps a popular revolt against climate change. Energy investment is running at half the investment needed to meet the ambition of reaching net zero by 2050.”
Back in Wellington, the Reserve Bank is reported to have turned its attention to the risks imposed by climate change. The central bank is to develop a guidance note on climate change risk management for banks, insurers and non-bank deposit takers and plans a climate change scenario-based bank stress test. It is working towards fully embedding climate risks into its core functions of financial stability and monetary policy.
“We recognise the need for more action than current, that is why we have laid out our commitments and future plans around climate change in this report,” Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr says.
Later in 2021 the Reserve Bank says it will start developing a guidance note on climate change risk management for the entities it regulates.
“The guidance will support the Climate Related Disclosure plans and will cover governance, risk management, scenario analysis and disclosure. The guidance will not impose new requirements in relation to climate risks; rather it will support compliance with the [Reserve] Bank’s existing risk-management and governance requirements, and will provide guidance to assist entities to manage climate risks.
“Our approach will follow that of other appropriate regulators, for instance the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and will focus on physical, transition and liability risks. We believe that it will be crucial to work with our regulated entities to ensure that they are in positions to meet the new reporting expectations. We have heard from industry that key challenges include establishing appropriate scenarios, managing uncertainty, data availability, and capacity.”
It’s good to know the mandarins of 1 The Terrace are on the job.