Scientists and actuaries have come together to produce a report for the COP27 climate change conference getting underway in Egypt, stressing the gravity of climate change and saying policy makers must take a risk management approach to mitigating its effects.

In the report, produced by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and the Climate Crisis Advisory Group (CCAG) and entitled “Climate emergency – tipping the odds in our favour: A climate-change policy briefing for COP27”, the authors said that even under current targets set out in the Glasgow Pact, global society was heading towards a “ruin scenario”.

Sandy Trust, member of the IFoA’s sustainability board, and its former chair, said: “Climate change is a risk-management problem on a global scale.

‘Policymakers must act now to accelerate climate action to avoid catastrophic impacts on society,” he said.

Trust said the pace of climate change had been underestimated, as well as the level of risk associated with 1.5°C of warming.

“We need to prepare for further climate impacts, as well as reducing emissions rapidly,” he said, but added that humanity had the solutions required and it was “within our collective capabilities to steer our future back onto a safe course.”

The authors of the report – Trust, Lucy Saye, David King, Riti Patel and Alex Martin – said the 1.5°C target “should be viewed similar to a ruin scenario for society – a level we must not exceed”.

While severe outcomes were already emerging, they said, risks increased the closer to – and further beyond – 1.5°C the world got.

 “The increased likelihood of these risks and severity of impacts above 1.5°C reinforce the need to reduce our emissions to net zero as rapidly as possible,” they said in the report.

“Current pledges are inadequate to meet even the 1.5°C target,” they said, adding that widely-discussed carbon budgets only gave a 50% or less chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and assumed no surprises, which was unrealistic.

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