Climate change white paper sets tone for the future

The UK government’s climate change white paper sets out how the country will seek to mitigate the risk of increasingly adverse weather and build a net-zero economy.

The document – Energy white paper: powering our net zero future – reflects initiatives outlined in prime minister Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan for transforming the UK’s energy resources over the next few years. It is the first major paper on the issue for 13 years.

Areas of focus

Those areas of focus include boosting the UK’s alternative energy sources and promoting green living:

  1. Offshore wind – energy available from this source in every home
  2. Hydrogen – the creation of the first town heated by hydrogen
  3. Nuclear – building additional capacity
  4. Electric vehicles – more infrastructure and support
  5. Public transport, cycling and walking improvements
  6. Jet Zero and greener maritime
  7. Homes and public buildings revamp of energy use and efficiency
  8. Carbon capture to store harmful emissions
  9. Protecting nature
  10. Innovation and finance to develop technology and green finance.

Role for risk managers

While some policy areas have yet to be decided, risk managers will clearly play an important role. A recent article in Enterprise risk Alyssa Gilbert, the director of policy and translation at the Grantham Institute – Imperial College London, said:

“Climate change should be a risk that business executives consider alongside their usual planning cycles, applying the same analysis as you might in the case of other unknowns, and embedding considerations into periodic decision-making processes. Businesses may wish to appoint a climate change expert to the board, or as part of an executive committee, or include a consideration of climate change explicitly into risk assessment protocols.”

Instead of waiting to react to climate change risk, risk managers can take five key steps now to help their organisations:

  • Get comfortable with the topic, do some research or attend a short training
    session with the many experts providing advice on climate change risk.
  • Identify your internal allies: figure out who can work with you on these issues at board and executive level.
  • Scope out the climate change risks for your business, across the physical, transition and liability risks. You may want external help to get started, working with trade bodies or with expert consultancies.
  • Find ways to integrate this risk assessment into your existing processes, including monitoring and reviewing approaches.
  • Don’t forget your stakeholders – communicate with key external partners too, be they shareholders, customers or your supply chain, so that you can work together on any commitments.

Read Time for action by Alyssa Gilbert.

Join IRM’s climate change special interest group.

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