Climate Change As Risk Management

Thinking about climate change as a risk rather than a threat has enabled many companies to develop strategies that take account of much more than simply the immediate costs of emissions abatement. Companies came to see many different types of risks to their business in relation to climate change. They faced risks of incurring 9 See costs from later regulation if they didn't plan for them now risks to their reputation (and thus to potential markets if they were seen as unresponsive to societal...

From hierarchies to networks

A fourth shift stimulated by the events of the 1970s is in the way that organisations operate. If globalisation has changed the nature of international inequalities, it is also frequently described through changing forms of organisations. Business, governments, NGOs and others have all undergone shifts in the ways they work, both on their own and with others, both as cause and consequence of globalisation. These changes can be characterised as shifts from clear bureaucratic hierarchies,...

The limits of climate capitalism

One of the questions we raised in the introduction to this book is whether the carbon economy is, frankly, a bit of a scam. That essentially it is more about making money than tackling climate change. If that remains your suspicion having read this far, rest assured you are in good company. Many critics will tell you the whole gamut of carbon trading, offsets and projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is based on dodgy accounting, unverifiable assumptions and merely provides new...

Mobilising the power of investors

The scene is the launch of the 2007 report produced by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), in Amsterdam, December 2007. It is a measure of how much attention is now on climate change that this event is going on, and fills a lecture hall with 200 people, at the same time as the UN climate negotiations in Bali. The launch is in the plush headquarters of Dutch bank ABN-AMRO, known outside the Netherlands principally as long-time sponsors of Ajax Amsterdam football club, but one of Europe's...

Climate for business from threat to opportunity

It may seem hard to believe today, but there was once a time that business denied there was such a thing as climate change. Vast amounts of money and effort went into discrediting the scientific basis on which the case for action was made. Business lobby organisations were set up and funded by those companies that felt threatened by action on climate change. Aggressive lobbying which aimed to derail national and international responses to the issue was commonplace on Capitol Hill in Washington...

Energy Use And Economic Growth

While the scientific understanding of climate change was developing, the expansion of energy use proceeded apace. The series of inventions from the steam engine onwards - the railways, mechanised industrial and agricultural production, the internal combustion engine, fossil fuel electricity production, through to the jet engine - continued to require and enable a constant expansion in the use of coal, oil and gas. Overall consumption of fossil fuels grew tenfold, from to 200 x 1018 joules6...

Climate Change

Other writers have told modern history through the life of a particular commodity whether it be sugar, coffee or, more immediately relevant for our purposes, coal and oil.1 By the same token, the rise of 1 S. Mintz, Sweetness and Power The Place of Sugar in Modern History (London Penguin, 1986) A. Wild, Black Gold A Dark History of Coffee (London Harper Perennial, 2005) B. Freese, Coal A Human History (London Arrow Books, 2003). contemporary forms of capitalism is closely connected to the...

Networks For Climate Change

As in neoliberalism more generally, organisation around climate change has taken the form of collaborative partnerships, involving networks of all sorts of actors. This can be seen in various projects, from the approach made by Greenpeace's Jeremy Leggett to insurers in the early 1990s, trying to persuade them that climate change was a threat to their interests, to the UNEP Finance Initiative, through to the CDP project. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), one of the central elements of the...

Shoot The Messenger

One approach was to challenge the science behind climate change. Scientists such as Fred Singer, Robert Balling and Patrick Michaels were (and are) only too happy to receive funds from fossil fuel lobbies for their work, which raised questions about human contributions to climate change and the very existence of the problem itself.4 Industry bodies such as the American Enterprise Institute, as recently as 2007, were offering individual scientists sums of 10,000 each to discredit the prevailing...

Info

A wide range of buyers have entered the CDM market. Most of these are banks and speculators that do not need CERs to comply with their obligations to regulators, but instead seek to trade them on the secondary market. One estimate is that in at least one-third of all the project-based transactions concluded between January 2005 and April 2006, the buyer had the intention of selling some of the resulting CERs on the secondary market.9 There was a 5.8-fold increase in one year from 2004...

Buying our way out of trouble

Most people in wealthier parts of the world have come across invitations to calculate their carbon footprint, offset their carbon emissions or go on a 'low-carbon diet'. Many large firms now do the same in order to market themselves as 'carbon neutral', often as part of broader climate change Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies as we saw in Chapter 3. Offsets are now routinely sold to firms and individuals, in particular to offset emissions from air travel. Consumers are sold...