Aussie Business: “There is no systemic government response … to build resilience to climate risks”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Emma Herd, chief executive of the Investor Group in Climate Change, wants more regulation and government coordination to bolster Australia’s response to climate change.

The business case for fixing Australia’s systemic failures on climate change

By Emma Herd
August 28, 2020 — 12.00am

The days of climate change being seen only as an environmental issue are long past. Large swathes of the private sector now recognise our warming planet poses a systemic financial risk to our country. Our major financial regulators, such as the Reserve Bank, also understand the threat.

But sadly, our national public debate has too often been snared on the cost of the necessary climate policy response. We rarely balance this with the far greater costs of inaction.

And too often we have sought the false certainty of economic modelling about policy outcomes decades in the future. If we take a step back, the facts are crystal clear: runaway climate change will do untold and likely irreversible economic damage to our country.

As the Roundtable concluded: “There is no systemic government response (federal, state and local) to build resilience to climate risks. Action is piecemeal; unco-ordinated; does not engage business, private sector investment, unions, workers in affected industries, community sector and communities; and does not match the scale of the threat climate change represents to the Australian economy, environment and society.”

Emma Herd is chief executive of the Investor Group in Climate Change, which is a member of the Australian Climate Roundtable.

Read more: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/the-business-case-for-fixing-australia-s-systemic-failures-on-climate-change-20200827-p55pxc.html

My question – if climate resilience is such a terrific investment opportunity, why do climate concerned business groups keep demanding government intervention?

43 thoughts on “Aussie Business: “There is no systemic government response … to build resilience to climate risks”

  1. runaway climate change will do untold and likely irreversible economic damage to our country.

    Yep. Worst-case scenario: if your business is located in a low-lying area next to the ocean and your city or country doesn’t mitigate sea level rise of 8 to 12 inches per century with engineering like the Dutch have been doing for hundreds of years, you may lose your business…in hundreds of years. What will your poor great-great-great…(10 to 20 generations or so)…grandchildren do? If they haven’t figured out how to move it to slightly higher ground or inland by then, I guess they’re screwed.

    And they’d better figure out how to install air conditioning, ’cause that 1.3° warming per century is going to feel mighty uncomfortable…in a few hundred years…if humans are still burning massive fossil fuels by then, if fossil-fuel burning is the primary cause of CO2 buildup in the atmosphere, if the trend of thousands of years of human technological progress and innovation slows and grinds to a halt, and they’ve decided that oil and gas are the only power and transportation technologies that will ever be used forever and ever.

    But, hey, it could happen, right?

    • One thing that strikes me here in Switzerland: Greens are against new technologies (e.g. gene technology, 5G telcom) “until it’s proven that it’s not dangerous”, which is in most cases practically impossible to do. Spending trillions of dollars to mitigate climate change effects which are only imaginary constructs at the present time is according to them a completely different can of beans, although when this money is falsely invested due to wrong priorities, humans lives in developing countries are definitively in danger.

      • For the green left, control is everything. And since the natural ebb and flow of weather and climate are uncontrollable, the closest available target for their compulsion is us.

        • More government is always the answer and we are always the problem. I am not sure why we permit government to be the arbiter of just what is or is not a problem. We are far more intelligent than anyone in government.

    • What risks?
      There are no quantitative risk analysis for Australia.
      Pick a region
      How many extra will die from extra heat?
      How many extra will not die from less cold?
      What is cost loss or gain from agriculture?
      I have observed that the alarmists only go so far.
      They can’t provide the quantitative details that any business could actually use.

    • CO2 levels were over 7000ppm in the past, and there was no runaway climate change.
      Going from 280 to 600 won’t cause it either.

      • Someone should start a website called 560.org to compete with 350.org. What is the right level of atmospheric CO2? I don’t think anyone knows, but most certainly there is no doubt that a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial times is a non issue climate wise. CO2 is logarithmic so adding more now has less effect than the first 50-100 ppmv. Plus it is already competing in the saturated water vapor bands around 15 μm (micrometers).

        If CO2 had the effect that many claim it has, then why don’t we see temps increases in Antartica where there is little water vapor? The theoretical rise in temps is about 1 degree C for a doubling of CO2, so is even in the range of natural variation that we don’t really even understand yet. And warming is better than cooling, so let’s advocate for a doubling of CO2 while we collect data over the next 50 years to confirm what the actual ECS is, (equilibrium climate sensitivity) whether negative or positive for feedbacks. Anyway, we are better to spend any monies on becoming climate resilient, to whatever Mother Nature throws our way which inclement weather is the norm and has been much worse in the past, especially for the majority of time the last 2.6 million years during full blown continental glacial ice sheet advances.

          • I went to register 560.org, and saw it was already taken and was for sale, so I phoned the toll free number and got a real live person of a subsidiary of GoDaddy and they said they wanted $15,000 for that name. I suspect Willy McKibben might own it, scared someone might actually start some competition for his wacky 350.org website.

  2. There is the concept of antifragility. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from a setback. Antifragility is taking advantage of the situation to get better.

    Suppose we believe that increased atmospheric CO2 will warm the globe enough that we can measure it. That could increase sea levels and require abandoning some properties. On the other hand, the CO2 being plant food, there should be enhanced farming opportunities.

    Resilience implies that we want everything to remain the same, which is ultimately impossible. Antifragility means we find ways to take advantage of whatever pops up.

    The choice between the two paradigms seems kinda obvious.

    R.G. LeTourneau did an interview which I read back in the 1960s. What stuck with me was that he often made special equipment for his contracting jobs. He said he often lost money on the contracting jobs but made a tidy profit selling the equipment afterward. That ‘advice’ worked well for me during my working life. My ability to build my own tools, be they physical of software, allowed me to do things that stymied others.

    I recently read his wiki page. When he was young he had a lot of jobs and it seems that, with each new job, he learned a new trade. He eventually became America’s preeminent inventor and builder of earth moving equipment. Why? I think it’s because he took everything that happened to him as an opportunity to learn and progress. Eventually, it all clicked. I would take him as an excellent example of antifragility.

    • Very good comment.
      It’s also called thriving.
      The example that first comes to mind is Kodak vs Fujifilm.
      Fujifilm were able to restructure a multi billion dollar company in less than 6 years.
      I’m sure most business can adapt to climate change over a 100 year period.

  3. I don’t know about Australia, but here in the US we have this agency called the US Army Corps of Engineers that has been tasked by Congress for over a hundred years to build in climate resilience infrastructure. They work with the USGS and the States and coastal and waterway authorities. Together they work and use sound hydrology and civil engineering principles they build dams, dykes, waterway protection structures, seawalls etc. Been doing that like forever, long before the climate scam started. And they will continue to do that.

    • You are correct.
      What I found fascinating is the they century old plans to blow them up if need.
      Example birds point on the Mississippi in 2011

  4. Sounds like one of those get-rich classified ad:
    -Captive clients needed by ethical green business opportunity.

  5. Members are mostly Industry Super Funds. And majority of Committee mostly from those same tribes.
    Cbus, AustSuper, Hesta, Qsuper, UniSuper, etc.
    All of them infected with “climate power” and a will to damage returns unless the government supports them.
    Their 30 year business case …
    “We should see action on climate change as an investment in future economic value, in resilience and our ongoing prosperity. An investment, not a cost.”
    A clear failure of our business schools over the last 20 years.

    • I wonder if they invest in air conditioning companies, a sure-fire technology for defeating climate change no matter which direction it moves.

    • I have just checked. I have some shares in QBE. Gasp, in their 2019 annual report they list this mob under “Partnerships and Initiatives”. No disclosure as to how much shareholder funds they are paying them or what value the shareholders get for their money.

  6. I’ve just realised that after listening to what she has to say, I’ve developed Herd immunity..

  7. “My question – if climate resilience is such a terrific investment opportunity, why do climate concerned business groups keep demanding government intervention?”

    Brilliant! This is THE question. And it inspires me to ask this: If renewable energy is so much better than fossil fuels why does it need climate scare fearology to push it through? The need for fearology is the evidence that it can’t compete in the market for energy. It may be able to compete someday when the energy storage issues and environmental issues of renewables are resolved, but the need for fearology to push this technology through is the evidence that it is not ready to compete in the market for energy within existing environmental impact constraints.

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/08/18/energy-storage/

    • What Emma says, “our warming planet poses a systemic financial risk to our country. Our major financial regulators, such as the Reserve Bank, also understand the threat”.

      This kind of logic interprets the global issue a warming planet as a national issue. This interpretation is not possible.

      Climate action is global or nothing. This is why the UN was put in charge. That the UN has failed to create a global climate protocol in the image of the montreal protocol and is now acting as cheerleader for “climate ambition” at the national level means that the UN led global climate action has failed.

      There is nothing that Australia or any other country can do about it. This thing is global or nothing.

      Pls see

      https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/05/22/climate-catch22/

  8. So, it’s Green Blight and investors that want trillion dollars in redistributive change to backstop their climate play. Confronting China over trade practices, human rights, etc. must have driven them apoplectic. The resistance to gray policies is a persistent thorn in their portfolios.

  9. Poor Emma Herd, “…the facts are crystal clear: runaway climate change will do untold and likely irreversible economic damage to our country.”

    The facts are clear, but not in the way Emma assumes.

    Maybe she and the Roundtable should do another loop around the table and check their ‘facts’, because if they did, they would find the science underlying the way greenhouse gasses actually operate would make it clear that carbon dioxide cannot possibly be the ‘principle driver of the current warming period’ as assumed by the IPCC and its naive and gullible adherents.

    Water vapour is overwhelmingly the major greenhouse gas both in its activity spectrum of operation within the electro magnetic radiation (EMR) span of IR radiation emitted from Earth and in its atmospheric concentration.

    Carbon dioxide on the other hand only effectively operates as a spike centred at 14.9u, an area also partially covered by water vapour. This severely limits any additional warming effect from this source.

    On top of that, according to the IPCC’s own scientific report, mankind’s total contribution to increasing atmospheric CO2 is only 4.3%. 95.7% of the increase if from well explained natural causes.

    Runaway climate change from anthropogenic carbon dioxide is an impossibility, but the benefits from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide are absolutely enormous, but these are strangely, completely ignored.

    Maybe the ‘Investor Group’ would be better off if they took the time to first do their due diligence on this issue before making such fools of themselves .

  10. Thats because Emma these risks only exist in your mental cinema. Its like the voices, none of the rest of us are aware of them.

    • Ha!

      Chimes with me wondering if these people are just shameless opportunists, or are genuinely mentally ill.

      I cannot conceive how People of Normality* can ignore empirical evidence so blithely.

      *I’ve accidentally invented a new minority (majority?) to claim oppression….

  11. “We should see action on climate change as an investment in future economic value, in resilience and our ongoing prosperity. An investment, not a cost.”

    Translates to we want the Govn’t to impose a “climate tax” that is applied to energy use for every one. Capped initially, but growing over time as our revenues from superannuation contributions drop.

  12. It’s official; ‘systemic’ is the word now destined to be shoehorned into every ‘important’ statement along with ‘unprecedented’.

    I’m looking forward to them both being used in the same sentence by some numpty who doesn’t understand what either word means.

  13. “Investor Group in Climate Change” Who are these people? Are they a listed public company? Has this mob got shares listed on ASX? If not why not? Let the investors decide.

  14. But they do FEEL good. It is NEVER about solving anything, just enriching themselves at taxpayer expense.

  15. Quote “And too often we have sought the false certainty of economic modelling about policy outcomes decades in the future. If we take a step back, the facts are crystal clear: runaway climate change will do untold and likely irreversible economic damage to our country.”

    The models relating to catastrophic climate change decades in the future are very very good and other models……..???
    Stupid economists!

  16. Aussie Business: “There is no systemic government response … to build resilience to climate risks”

    Better start building resilience against risks of fascist-government takeovers.

  17. There is systemic increase of systemic use.

    Systemic is increasing at an exponential rate. The systemic increase of systemic could be unsustainable and create a systemic issue.

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