Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images
The world’s biggest investment fund managers have called on the Government to act faster to address the risks of climate change as the World Bank warned a warmer world could lead to food shortages, cyclones and drought.An alliance of 200 investment institutions includes Scottish Widows, Aviva and HSBC and controls $21 trillion (£13 trillion) of assets worldwide is lobbying ministers as part of a broader campaign for action from leading global economies, The Independent reports.
It highlights growing concerns over the economic impact of global warming among financial institutions.
“Hurricane Sandy, which caused more than $50bn (£31bn) in economic losses, is typical of what we can expect if no action is taken and warming trends continue,” Chris Davis, a member of the alliance who advises institutions controlling $11 trillion on climate-change issues, told the Independent.
In a letter to the governments, ahead of the international climate negotiations that kick off in Doha on Monday, the alliance urges “a new dialogue on climate-change policy” and “predictable policies that encourage low-carbon investment”.
Britain has signed up to legally binding targets to cut emissions by 34pc by 2020 and by 80pc by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.
A World Bank report on Monday said that all nations will suffer the effects of a warmer world, but it is the world’s poorest countries that will be hit hardest by food shortages, rising sea levels, cyclones and drought.
The report, called Turn Down the Heat, highlights the devastating impact of a world hotter by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, a likely scenario under current policies, according to the report.
Climate change is already having an effect: Arctic sea ice reached a record minimum in September, and extreme heatwaves and drought in the last decade have hit places like the United States and Russia more often than would be expected from historical records, the report said.
Such extreme weather is likely to become the “new normal” if the temperature rises by 4 degrees, according to the World Bank report.
This is likely to happen if not all countries comply with pledges they have made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Even assuming full compliance, the world will warm by more than 3 degrees by 2100.
In this hotter climate, the level of the sea would rise by up to 3 feet, flooding cities in places like Vietnam and Bangladesh. Water scarcity and falling crop yields would exacerbate hunger and poverty.
Extreme heatwaves would devastate broad swathes of the earth’s land, from the Middle East to the United States, the report says. The warmest July in the Mediterranean could be 9 degrees hotter than it is today – akin to temperatures seen in the Libyan Desert.
The combined effect of all these changes could be even worse, with unpredictable effects that people may not be able to adapt to, said John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, which along with Climate Analytics prepared the report for the World Bank.
“If you look at all these things together, like organs co-operating in a human body, you can think about acceleration of this dilemma,” said Mr Schellnhuber, who studied chaos theory as a physicist. “The picture reads that this is not where we want the world to go.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.