We have already experienced around 1⁰C of average warming above preindustrial levels and extraordinary weather events with significant financial and human consequences are increasing in frequency.
Humans have never lived in a world much warmer than today; yet the current trajectory of at least 3⁰C above the preindustrial average by 2100 could put us beyond the realm of human experience sometime in the next 30 years.
In 2017, emissions reached 37 GtCO2; Fossil fuels supplied 80% of the energy mix; 80% of emissions were not covered by carbon pricing; 59% of energy supply investment went to fossil fuels and 3.3 million electric vehicles were on the road.
The resulting physical damage: Temperature increased 1.1⁰C relative to preindustrial levels; CO2 concentration is over 400 ppm (last occurred three million years ago); Sea-level rise is at 22 cm; Half of the Great Barrier Reef has bleached to death since 2016, which has significant biodiversity and flood protection implications.
If we continue the business as usual pathway: Global annual emissions will increase by 49% by 2050 relative to 2015 and reach 91 GtCO2 by 2100; By 2050 (relative to 2015): Total primary energy will be up 28%; Fossil fuels will represent 84% of primary energy; Power generation will be 25% renewable (plus 5% nuclear).
The resulting physical damage: By 2050, temperature will increase by 2.0⁰C and in 2100 by 3.9⁰C (heading higher); By 2100, physical damages will largely be irreversible (permanent loss of arctic sea ice) and includes sea level rise of approximately 70 cm on average: 50% less potable water availability; the strongest North Atlantic cyclones will increase by 80%; Heat wave and forest fire risk will be very high and compromise normal outdoor activities; Risk to marine fisheries and ecosystems; medium-to-high risk of decline in fish stocks, plus negative aggregate impact on agriculture and food production, increasing the chance of famine and reductions in food supplies and employment.
Financial Brokers believe climate change is a “systemic risk,” and investors are encouraged to “consider the potential financial impacts of both the associated transition to a low-carbon economy and the physical impacts under different climate outcomes.”