18 Sep 18 Climate change: Opportunity in threat
Europe had its warmest August on record this year. The media has been swamped with stories about hurricanes, wild fires, floods and earthquakes across the globe. As I write this, Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut are wreaking ravage in Asia and North America. Over a decade ago, the documentary – An Inconvenient Truth – drew our attention to the perils of climate change. Yet, little has changed on the ground – as we blithely go about polluting the planet.
However, every crisis breeds opportunity! To quote from a speech by the UN Secretary-General a few days ago – “…what captures my imagination is the vast opportunity afforded by climate action… I have heard the argument – usually from vested interests – that tackling climate change is expensive and could harm economic growth. This is hogwash.”
Indeed, apart from the benefits to future generations, fighting global warming offers tremendous business opportunities for entrepreneurs, corporations, investors and innovators. Investments in sustainable development will help address climate change (and vice versa). These opportunities span a vast range of industries, and include things like:
- Cleaner fuels
- Alternate energy (including off-grid infrastructure)
- Water and sewerage treatment plants
- Alternative building materials
- Transportation (electric vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles)
…and many more – any product or application or technology that can save energy, or limit pollution – has good potential.
While we bemoan the slow pace and the fact that warming targets will not be met, the idea of climate change is already engaging ordinary citizens. All over the world, there is pressure building on politicians to effect green policies. Already China has clamped down on pollution and is leading the world in solar energy and electric vehicles. India is investing in sewage treatment to save its rivers. Plastic bans are increasing across the world. Despite the uneven progress, this trend will only intensify, driven by rising public awareness.
Time for investors and entrepreneurs to jump in?