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Lessons from COP26

‘World faces a larger climate-change bill than leaders admit’

3 December 2021 |
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Experts have identified the environmental damage caused by many of the world’s rich countries, but leaders are failing to budget to fix the problem
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This content was created in partnership with Citywire and written by Simon Constable.

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The historical impact of the industrialised world is being spoken about now, but it is yet to translate into the very serious consequences.

Perry Noble

Perry Noble

Head of Infrastructure

It’s time to keep hold of your wallet now that COP26 is over. Politicians are underestimating how much it will cost to win the battle against climate change, says Perry Noble head of infrastructure at Federated Hermes.

‘The historical impact of the industrialised world is being spoken about now, but it is yet to translate into the very serious consequences,’ says Noble. ‘The price we have to pay is still underestimated because it doesn’t suit politicians in the developed world to acknowledge that.’

The experts have identified the environmental damage caused by many of the world’s rich countries, still, leaders in those same nations are failing to budget enough cash to fix the problem. The implication is that our political leaders will eventually need to reveal those true, far larger costs to the public. However, they are reluctant to do so now because that may cost them re-election if voters aren’t ready to pay the bill.

Speaking from the recent COP26 United Nations summit in Glasgow, Noble argued however that there was some good news. The Covid-19 pandemic, which has upended the world economy over the last two years, has also helped prepare us all for the changes necessary to save the planet.

The climate summit, attended by almost 40,000 delegates, doesn’t necessarily have to translate into tangible changes for how either he or anyone else works, Noble says. Instead, it’s up to individuals and companies. ‘We can choose to make it so, and we at Federated Hermes are doing so because we take this subject incredibly seriously and the consequences of not doing so are horrendous for the world,’ he says.

While the coronavirus pandemic all but shut down vast sectors of the global economy and has so far killed more than five million people, Noble says it at least forced leaders to focus on science, which is also vital in the fight to save the planet from environmental destruction.

‘The way we scienced it to death, literally, are positives for the discussion going on here,’ he says. Vaccines usually can take 10-15 years to develop, but that process got massively accelerated during the pandemic.

The first Covid-19 vaccines made available were tested and received regulatory approval in less than a year, which is near-breakneck speed for the pharmaceutical industry. That fast-moving effort was in part due to vast cooperation and collaboration between scientists who shared their vital data.

‘We’ve seen a real-world example of how global cooperation, particularly at that scientific level, can make a huge difference,’ Noble says. ‘It’s a positive.

In the case of saving the planet, similar scientific collaboration efforts could help speed up development of much needed technology, such as more environmentally friendly industrial processes and low or no emission energy.

The International business of Federated Hermes was present at COP26 in Glasgow in two significant capacities.

The group’s CEO Saker Nusseibeh CBE spoke during the World Leaders Summit, underlining Federated Hermes’ commitment to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030 and to announce its joining of the Natural Capital Investment Alliance which was created by HRH The Prince of Wales under his Sustainable Markets Initiative. The initiative aims to accelerate the development of Natural Capital as a mainstream investment theme. Both commitments are important steps to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Federated Hermes also hosted its own ‘Further, Faster Conference’ at their ‘Fringe Festival’ site in Glasgow on land owned within its sustainable property portfolio. The two-day event welcomed investors, fund managers and experts from all areas of sustainability to exchange ideas on how to address the three interlinked emergencies of Climate, Nature and Social Injustice. Click here to see more details on the event.

COP26: Amplifying the voice of investors.

The vital role of stewardship in the last stand against climate change.

The value of investments and income from them may go down as well as up, and you may not get back the original amount invested. The views and opinions contained herein are those of the author and may not necessarily represent views expressed or reflected in other communications. This does not constitute a solicitation or offer to any person to buy or sell any related securities or financial instruments.

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