There are three less visible battles to win if we are to decarbonise five times faster than we have done in the last 20 years – and the good news is that actuaries can help!

In Simon Sharpe’s great new book Five Time Faster, he points out that, if we are going to decarbonise everything, “it’s not just the physical plumbing of the global economy that needs to be replaced, but the intellectual plumbing.” In a blog post from January, Three less visible battles to win, Simon mentions three targets in particular for this intellectual plumbing:

  1. Infrastructure that makes sure heads of government know just how bad climate change could get;
  2. Ideas in economics that exert a critical influence over governments’ policy decisions; and
  3. Institutions in diplomacy that will get the job done.

The first one means targeting the Integrated Assessment Models which have informed so much of our hesitancy and inappropriate prioritisations over the last 20 years where climate is concerned. I have written about this several times before, and this is something actuaries can contribute to much more in the future.

The second is at a much earlier stage, but the opening session in the current IFoA Presidential Speaker Series programme of talks indicates a greater confidence amongst actuaries to talk about, and influence, a more pluralist economic future.

And the third one will I believe become much more tractable once the intellectual tide starts to change.

I will be heading down with my banner to London tomorrow for Extinctions Rebellion’s Big One, alongside 90 other organisations united in demonstrating for a survivable future. Hope to see you there!

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