Tackling climate change will require ‘transforming the whole economy’, financiers warn

(EurActiv, 7 Dec 2018) The global economy has to prepare for a profound transformation in the coming decades as the impact of climate change becomes more tangible, Zurich insurance experts told EURACTIV.com.

“Tackling climate change is about transforming the whole economy,” said Zurich Insurance Group’s Chief Risk Officer Alison Martin.

“We have to change the way we live, the way we move, how we spend our money. This is a profound transformation and the majority of changes are yet to come,” she said.

Johanna Köb, the head of Responsible Investment at Zurich Insurance Group, pointed out that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of climate change issues.

“They demand that businesses act more responsibly, act on climate change, and this public opinion turning is a fundamentally important concept because that means the impact of climate change can and will translate into political acts,” she stressed, highlighting the case of the Hambach Forest in Germany, where citizen action prevented RWE from razing a forest to build a coal mine.

Global transition still short

But while extreme weather is on the rise worldwide, global climate action still falls short of hitting the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to “well below 2°C”.

“Our analysis shows that the likelihood of missing the Paris Agreement goals is higher than achieving it,” Alison Martin said. “Yet, the IPCC made it clear that we only have 12 years to act, that is a handful of years,” she warned, pointing out that 2017 was the most expensive year ever in terms of damages, with an estimated $300 billion global costs.

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EurActiv, 7 Dec 2018: Tackling climate change will require ‘transforming the whole economy’, financiers warn