Future of the Environment

The $270 trillion climate fund gap and other environment stories you need to read this week

This weekly round-up brings you key environment stories from the past seven days. In picture: image of ice melting

This weekly round-up brings you key environment stories from the past seven days. Image: UNSPLASH/Melissa Bradley

Kate Whiting
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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Future of the Environment

This article is part of: Centre for Nature and Climate

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  • This weekly round-up brings you key environment stories from the past seven days.
  • Top stories: $270 trillion in investments needed for net zero targets; Pakistan is out of money for flood recovery; Firms failing to disclose climate-related risks.

1. News in brief: Top environment and climate change stories to read this week

At least 25 people died and 52 were missing after five small rivers in central Venezuela flooded due to heavy rains, Citizen Security Vice-President Remigio Ceballos said on 9 October.

Pakistan is out of money to spend on its recovery from devastating floods, the country's climate change minister said on 4 October. Sherry Rehman called for prompt international help at the UN launch of an aid appeal, as Pakistan's funding needs ramped up five-fold.

Aviation should achieve net zero emissions by 2050, a UN body agreed on 7 October, despite pushback from China and Russia. Countries overwhelmingly aligned with airlines amid mounting pressure to curb pollution from flights.

The International Monetary Fund said on 7 October that it has reached a staff-level agreement with Rwanda for $310 million of funding to support the country's economic reforms and help it build resilience against climate change.

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England recorded its highest excess mortality figure from heatwaves this year since records began in 2004, health officials said. This followed a summer when temperatures rose to all-time highs. The country recorded 2,803 excess deaths among those aged 65 and over during summer heatwaves, the UK Health Security Agency said.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has urged the World Bank Group and other multilateral development banks to revamp their business models and dramatically boost lending to address pressing global needs such as climate change.

Caribbean nations will unite to seek "loss and damage" compensation for the impact of climate change at the upcoming COP27 climate talks in Egypt, according to a report summarizing conclusions of a recent regional summit. Small island nations – which are among the most affected by rising temperatures – are pushing developed countries to create a "loss and damage" funding facility to pay for consequences of climate change that go beyond what people can adapt to.

Europe should show "far greater ambition" on climate change because its overall greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, a UN report says. Countries must embrace recycling, tighten air quality and spend more on the environment, it adds.

2. Investments of $270 trillion needed to meet net-zero targets – study

Investments of $270 trillion are needed for the planet to meet a climate target of net zero emissions by 2050, reinsurance company Swiss Re said in a study that underscores the daunting challenge of the effort.

Estimates for the global investment required vary widely, and the Swiss company's figure is higher than most.

Investment gap sector decarbonisation lever environment net zero
There's a $270 trillion investment gap to reach net zero. Image: Swiss Re

It comes ahead of next month's COP27 climate negotiations in Egypt, where 90 heads of state have confirmed attendance.

The Swiss Re report also found that the world will not reach net zero until 2069 if investment continues at its current pace.

"As of today, the world is not on track to meet ... net zero emissions by 2050," Swiss Re said, noting that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has elevated energy security to the top of the policy agenda.

One of the biggest investment needs is in the transport sector, which requires $114 trillion in upgrades for things like electric vehicle charging stations, Swiss Re said.

3. Biggest polluting firms 'failing to disclose' climate risks

Almost all of the companies most responsible for corporate greenhouse gas emissions are failing to disclose how climate-related risks might impact them financially, according to a report released by think tank Carbon Tracker on 6 October.

This lack of disclosures is leaving investors in the dark, and means markets are unable to function efficiently and allocate capital appropriately – undermining efforts to decarbonize the global economy, said Carbon Tracker, which analyzes the impact of climate change on financial markets.

The firm's second annual report on corporate disclosures found that 98% of 134 companies – which it says are collectively responsible for up to 80% of emissions – did not provide sufficient evidence that they had considered the impact of climate matters when preparing their 2021 financial statements.

"When companies don't take climate-related matters into account, their financial statements may include overstated assets, understated liabilities and overstated profits," said Carbon Tracker's Head of Accounting, Audit and Disclosure Barbara Davidson, who is lead author of the report.

4. More on the environment on Agenda

Ruptures to the Nord Stream gas pipeline caused the biggest single release of methane on record, according to the International Methane Emissions Observatory. This explainer looks at what methane is, why it's bad for the climate and what the world is doing to cut methane emissions.

Amid growing calls for energy companies to pay windfall taxes on excess profits, Kellogg School of Management's Aaron Yoon explores how these profits could be reinvested into alternative energy solutions.

Businesses can harness the power of their employees to solve the enormous challenges they face from climate change, writes Holly Teal from financial services firm WTW. In this opinion piece, she outlines six ways to engage employees to reach climate goals.

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Future of the EnvironmentClimate Crisis
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