Getting personal (Emily Thwaite…)

January 30th, 2020

The Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is melting more quickly than previously thought – this is the most important glacier in the world, sometimes known to glaciologists as the ‘doomsday glacier’. It is massive, roughly the size of Britain, and already accounts for 4% of world sea level rise each year. There is enough water locked up in it to raise world sea level by more than half a metre.

Closer to my geographical home is news that the Bristol-based Brunel Pension Partnership will demand that companies in which it invests take steps to align emissions with targets agreed at the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Brunel will vote against the reappointment of board members of companies that are not doing enough and could sell its stakes from 2022. Mark Mansley, Brunel’s chief investment officer, said: “Climate change is a rapidly escalating investment issue. We found that the finance sector is part of the problem, when it could and should be part of the solution…”

Companies such as BP need to find themselves isolated. Hard to imagine in early 2020, but all change starts with small steps, doesn’t it?…

The Guardian newspaper has made a brave decision (it’s not rich, and the newspaper industry generally is past its heyday).

It has decided to drop advertising from oil and gas companies – the first global news organisation to institute an outright ban on taking money from the world’s largest polluters.

The company’s acting chief executive Anna Bateson and the chief revenue officer Hamish Nicklin said: “Our decision is based on the decades-long efforts by many in the fossil fuel industries to prevent meaningful climate action by governments around the world.”

So, principles are being prioritised. 

And of course governments need to reward people’s faith in principles.

In the Ireland general election next week, it looks as if idealistic people will be forced to put their concerns about healthcare and housing first. The country had been poised for its first climate-centric election, with 55% of Irish voters naming climate change as the most serious issue facing the planet and 54% saying they were prepared to curb their living standards to combat the threat. But now, it seems, voters are turning their attentions to more local issues. Cara Augustenborg, an environmental scientist who advises the president, Michael Higgins, said: “They’re kicking the can down the road. I don’t think they have any credibility on environmental issues.”

Jobs are naturally of key importance to many people (I’m retired; but working on this!) 

The National Grid is drawing attention to the need in the UK to recruit 120,000 people to fill green energy roles during the next ten years.

Nicola Shaw, the executive director of National Grid, said: “The time is now for the energy sector to rise to the challenge and overcome the longstanding issues we face in recruiting a diverse workforce with the right skills to deliver on the UK’s ambitions.”

Encouragingly, more than 8 in 10 women and 7 in 10 men have said they are keen to play their part in tackling climate change. More than half of adults are specifically looking to work for an organisation that is helping the UK to deliver its climate goals.

The rising need for green energy jobs could bring opportunities for skilled specialists, the National Grid report said, across all regions but particularly in the north of England, off the east coast and also in Scotland and Wales.

So, opportunity seems a good word for this week.

Finland’s young female prime minister Sanna Marin says: “Fighting climate change is a huge opportunity for jobs and well-being.” She’s inspiring!

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