Guest essay by Eric Worrall
University of New South Wales, which sponsored the infamous Ship of Fools melting Antarctic expedition which got stuck in the irony, is encouraged that people listened to academic advice during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Is COVID-19 the dress rehearsal for climate change?
The lessons we have learnt from the impact of COVID-19 may help businesses manage climate risk in the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences, changing society as we know it.
Before the crisis hit, Australia was facing a climate emergency with the worst fire season to-date – taking lives, devastating towns, decimating forests and wildlife, and causing widespread fear about the future.
There has been a push for governments and companies to continue their focus on sustainability. But is it appropriate to be talking about climate risk during a global pandemic that is barely contained?
The impacts of climate change will be far-reaching for organisations, both government and private, but the repercussions of COVID-19 show that many are not ready to manage the climate risks.
Throughout May, UNSW Business School’s Responsible Business Program coordinator, Dr Louise Fitzgerald, with Tanya Dellicompagni presented four online discussions titled ‘Future-Proofing Business’, bringing together researchers, academics, business leaders and practitioners.
“Hopefully, we’ll see people start to reject that kind of combative politics on the other side of this and they’ll want to see agreement, and they’ll want to see evidence-based policy.”
Ms Shrivell says during COVID-19 society has been encouraged to pull together and to download the app but when faced with climate change “we’re a little more encouraged to be ‘well … what can we do?’ ”
…Read more: https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/business-law/covid-19-dress-rehearsal-climate-change
Aussie academics are ready to take on a greater role in global governance. The following are words spoken by the vice chancellor of the Australian National University at Davos in February.
Unis are key to meeting our climate change challenge 5 FEBRUARY 2020
In 2015, through the Paris Agreement, the world came together to chart a way forward to limit global warming to between 1.5 and 2 degrees. But we are nowhere near being on target to limit warming to 2 degrees, either as a world, or as a nation.
Since the Paris Agreement, CO2 has increased by an amount in our atmosphere higher than in any other four-year period in human history.
We – the global citizenry – are seeing a comprehensive failure of the global political system; a failure that has existential consequences for our collective prosperity. The university sector, in my opinion, will be amongst the most critical of all institutions, if we are to find the pathways to a prosperous and sustainable global future.
We will educate those – young and old – who will be productive in a rapidly changing world.
We will undertake much of the research that underpins the technological development required to cope with our demands on the planet.
We will be the place where much of the thinking emerges on how to marry technology with human behaviour.
And we will be the places most open to contemplating whatever changes to the world-order are going to be required to keep the peace as change occurs.
It has been the role of universities for almost a millennium to challenge orthodoxy and think big. Facing up to the challenges isn’t something we, the university sector, can’t wait for permission to do – our job is to get out in front of issues, and find answers before the calls for help.
But it is not just technology that matters – all of this has to be underpinned by a highly rational set of policies at the local, national, and international level, as well as things like financial instruments, and public education.
We need to help design the policies that governments can turn to. We stand ready to lend our deep expertise to governments as they act to tackle this enormously complex challenge – ensuring that these do not leave individuals and nations behind. Because if they do, they either will not happen, or will create civil unrest that will undermine their implementation.
…Read more: https://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/unis-are-key-to-meeting-our-climate-change-challenge
Academics are sitting by the phone, waiting for our call. All we have to do is ask, and they will step in and offer us their expert leadership.