Mitigating and adapting to climate change
#SRI — 01.03.2022

Mitigating and adapting to climate change

In the context of irreversible climate change, it is essential that we adapt. Politicians, companies and citizens all have a role to play in curbing the effects.

SUMMARY

  • Climate change is already a reality, including in the home, and it will remain so
  • Politicians, companies and citizens must adapt to the new climate
  • Adaptation measures help to reduce the impact of climate change
  • All companies are affected by productivity losses
  • Social solidarity is indispensable for adapting our society as a whole

 

The world’s average temperature has increased by more than 1°C compared with pre-industrial levels. The 2015 Paris Agreement sets out the goal of limiting global warming to below 2°C by 2100. Even if all parties to the agreement meet their commitments, the temperature will continue to rise, not least because of the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. The 41.8°C record reached in the summer of 2019 in Begijnendijk (Belgium) is likely to be exceeded in the future. The impact study by Vito, EcoRes and Kenter for Belgium reveals the rise in the number of summer thunderstorms, droughts and even windstorms. Faced with a new and inevitable climate, citizens and businesses must adapt.  

 

“Recurring heatwaves could lead to excess mortality of up to 1,900 deaths per year in Belgium.”

Valérie de Gheldere - Socially Responsible Investment Specialist

Policy measures and infrastructure

 

The number of adaptation measures is vast and concerns all of us. Political power thus has a dual role. The first is to put in place infrastructure to help the country cope with the consequences of global warming. This includes raising the level of dykes, as the level of the North Sea could increase by 80 cm by the end of the century, and adapting the health system, which will face recurring heatwaves. According to the impact study, excess mortality could reach 1,900 deaths per year in Belgium.

Politicians must also encourage citizens and businesses to adapt. In Belgium, the action of the authorities is set out in a national adaptation strategy shared by the various levels of power.  

Objectifs de développement durable

“Adaptation measures (e.g. sowing dates) reduce the impact of climate change by nearly 50%.”

Valérie de Gheldere - Socially Responsible Investment Specialist

All companies are affected

 

At the economic level, the agricultural sector is particularly exposed. Harvest losses of more than 35% are cited. Adaptation measures can reduce the impact, as illustrated in a report on the AMICE project for the Meuse River basin. Adaptation measures (e.g. sowing dates) reduce the impact of climate change by nearly 50%.

The insurance sector is also at the forefront of climate-related risks (floods, windstorms, hailstorms, and drought).

All companies are affected, with high temperatures hurting productivity. According to the impact study, the total annual cost could be as much as €9 billion in Belgium.

“Everyone must be able to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle to limit climate change and its impact.”

Valérie de Gheldere - Socially Responsible Investment Specialist

Citizens and social aspects

As citizens, we are also concerned by climate change . For example, adjustments must be made in housing in view of recurring heatwaves. However, climate change does not affect all citizens in the same way. According to the impact study, low-income families are much more likely to live in uncomfortably warm homes. Moreover, they take the brunt of rising food prices. For the whole society to adapt, solidarity measures need be implemented.

The same reasoning applies to the energy transition. Each of us must adopt a more sustainable way of life in order to reduce climate change and its impact.

The opinions given on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of BNP Paribas Wealth Management.  

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