What is the IPCC and what is this report?
- The IPCC is United Nation’s body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was formed in 1988 from two bodies: the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme.
- Thousands of scientists from across the world voluntarily contribute to its assessment reports, which are published every six years or so.
- There are three working groups:
- Working Group 1: which sets out the physical science basis of climate change.
- Working Group 2: looks at impacts, adaptation and vulnerability.
- Working Group 3: examines the mitigation of climate change.
- The Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This is the first major review of the science since 2013.
The IPCC Report says:
- ” It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred”
- The past five years have been the hottest on record since 1850. Each of the last four decades has been successively warmer than any decade that preceded it since 1850.
- The recent rate of sea level rise has nearly tripled compared with 1901-1971. Even if we manage to curb emissions and keep temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, the sea level will continue to rise.
- Observed increases in well-mixed greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations since around 1750 are unequivocally caused by human activities. Human influence is “very likely” (90%) the main driver of the global retreat of glaciers since the 1990s and the decrease in Arctic sea-ice.
- Warming from anthropogenic emissions from the pre-industrial period to the present will persist for centuries to millennia and will continue to cause further long-term changes in the climate system, such as sea level rise, with associated impacts
- It is “virtually certain” that hot extremes including heatwaves have become more frequent and more intense since the 1950s, while cold events have become less frequent and less severe.
- Global surface temperature was 1.09 [0.95 to 1.20] °C higher in 2011–2020 than 1850–1900. From https://globalwarmingindex.org/. Current warming is 1.23 degrees C against the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5-2.0 degrees C.
History of Science of Climate Change:
- The science underling a deep understanding of human-induced global warming has developed over a long period.
- 1824: Joseph Fourier – the atmosphere keeps Earth warmer than in a vacuum.
- 1838: Claude Pouillet – carbon dioxide might trap infra-red and warm the atmosphere.
- 1857: Eunice Foote – atmospheric heating effect of CO2 gas.
- 1859-1861: John Tyndall – absorption of radiant heat by CO2 and possible effect on climate.
- 1896: Arrhenius – first comprehensive greenhouse theory. CO2 identified as a key greenhouse gas
- 1930s: Increase in temperatures at the poles noted.
- 1938: Guy Stewart Callendar Earth warming due to CO2 from fossil fuels
- In 1965 the US President said in a message to Congress: “this generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through radioactive materials and a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels”. Later that year, the President’s Science Advisory Committee issued a report treating CO₂ as a pollutant, with an appendix on “Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”.
- Fossil fuel companies have therefore known about the damage they were doing to Earth’s delicate climate balance since at least this date.
- Not only have they chosen not to reduce the harms but, Oreskes & Conway (“Merchants of Doubt” 2010) point to active global warming denial activities by fossil fuel extractors and producers, which would appear to compound their responsibility.
P1’s Climate-Friendly Investment Approach
- The fact that fossil fuel companies have known about the harm they were causing and chosen not to act to reduce those harms, in our view, shows them to be dishonest counterparties in the challenge of how to address global warming.
- As a result, it does not seem appropriate to engage with them.
- At P1 we have therefore made the decision to divest from fossil fuel extraction companies, as we deem them untrustworthy for engagement.
- Our fossil divestment policy excludes firms that extract or produce coal, oil or gas. The aim is to keep the carbon locked in fossil fuels beneath ground to prevent climate damage. We also believe that ties should be severed with fossil fuel companies, so that it is just as unacceptable to invest in green bonds issued by fossil fuel companies, as it is to invest in their shares (equity).
- Climate science tells us that net-zero human greenhouse gas emissions are required to stabilize the climate.
- We also believe that it is unwise in the extreme, to rely on unproven technologies, but that urgent action is required to reduce emissions as soon as possible.
As a result we have a three-pronged climate friendly investment approach:
- Fossil divestment to avoid investment in firms that extract or produce coal, oil or gas.
- Investment in high-quality renewable energy with very low full lifecycle CO2-equivalent emissions, such as wind or solar.
- Net zero emissions with a target of 2030 in mind – for details see our Net Zero Carbon 10 investor target which has over £8bn AUMs targeting carbon-neutral investments.
IPCC, 2021: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S. L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M. I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T. K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press.