The Master, Senior Warden and many Company Members were transfixed by the address given by William McDonnell, Chief Risk Officer of the RSA Group and one of the leading authorities in the City on climate change, at a superb Withers Climate Change Breakfast last week. His revelations that 2018 set an all-time record for CO2 emissions, that the lifetime emissions of the globe’s existing kit will already exceed the 2°C budget and that, hence, despite the efforts of a generation, the dial on global warming has yet to move downwards at all were grimly riveting. There was no denying the scale of the challenge but WCIB members attending heard grounds for optimism too. Interventions are available – renewables, grid infrastructure, transport, rail infrastructure, engineering and there is more than adequate investment capacity in green finance and wider capital markets. But political leadership and a willingness to change social behaviours will be essential – for example in diet, air travel and so on. But realisation of the risk of human extinction should, presumably and hopefully, drive an ever more urgent agenda.
Thanks to Withers for hosting our event, to Sidney Celia Ross for the pictures and to Tim Jones for the report.