Raining on climate change’s parade

3 min read 29 September 2021

From the Caribbean to the Far East, the increasing intensity of extreme weather events has once again thrust climate change to the forefront of public discussion. Just weeks ago, Hurricane Ida completely wrecked Louisiana’s electricity grid in the US, while both Greece and Siberia have struggled to contain wildfires that have had a crippling effect on their local infrastructure.

These events show that the effects of climate change are not just going to be felt in some far distant future by unborn generations. They are being felt now, by the people and businesses of today. As we observe Africa Climate Week (26-29 September),, it has never been more important to take stock and examine what we can do to fight it.

The cost of climate change:

According to a recent report by Forbes.com, the global cost of climate change could reach as much as $1,3 trillion by the year 2026. That is around R20 trillion in today’s value.  To put it another way, climate change could gouge more than 10 times South Africa’s national budget, out of economies across the globe. That is just in the short term. In the long term it is estimated that the global economy could be 37% smaller than it would have been if climate change had not existed.

What we can do:

We believe it’s imperative to focus on public-private partnerships going forward. All stakeholders must be committed if we stand any chance of really moving the needle. Here are some examples of ways this is already working:

The point is that climate change and the risks it poses cannot be done on the state level alone. It is critical that members of the private sector involve themselves as best they can in order to help mitigate or potentially avert a climate disaster.

Where to from here:

It is imperative that all sectors of broader society find ways to reduce their environmental impact if we want to put ourselves in the best position to fight climate change. No matter how small every action counts and if we all start somewhere, we can build a better future for everyone.

Another tool that will help map and track various climate trends over the coming years is the Green Book. Launched by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Green Book is a state-of-the-art online climate risk assessment tool that allows municipalities across the country to assess climate risks and growth pressures up until the year 2050. Through our P4RR, we partnered with CSIR to pilot the Green Book in municipalities that were most at risk of being severely impacted by climate issues.

Follow the (Green) money:

Perhaps one of the most impactful methods of combatting climate change lies in green financing, which is essentially the practice of investing in sustainable and green businesses. According to Deloitte Almost 400 investors, representing more than US$35 trillion in assets under management (AUM), have signed the Climate Action 100+ initiative, which is committed to pressurising the largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to “curb emissions, improve governance and strengthen climate-related financial disclosures”.

In a similar vein, the Santam Resilient Fund (SRI), targets investments in companies that address environmental, social or governance needs. To date, the fund has focused largely on investment opportunities that promote clean/green and affordable energy and, as of 31 December 2020 it amounted to R125 million. The fund is managed by Sanlam Investments.

A recent BBC.com article reported that 56% of young people believe that the world is doomed by climate change. That does not have to be the case. Many scientists across the globe are still convinced that there is still time to avert disaster. Moreover, none of mankind’s most enduring accomplishments came from resigning ourselves to our fate. Santam, along with countless others, is rolling up our sleeves and joining in the fight to save our planet. If we all fight together, there is no telling just how much we could win.