Myles Allen, a physicist at Oxford University, said a breakthrough that allows scientists to judge the role man-made climate change played in extreme weather events could see a rush to the courts over the next decade. He said: “We are starting to get to the point that when an adverse weather event occurs we can quantify how much more likely it was made by human activity. And people adversely affected by climate change today are in a position to document and quantify their losses. This is going to be hugely important.”
The cream of the UK climate science community sat in stunned silence as Kevin Anderson pointed out that carbon emissions since 2000 have risen much faster than anyone thought possible, driven mainly by the coal-fuelled economic boom in the developing world. So much extra pollution is being pumped out, he said, that most of the climate targets debated by politicians and campaigners are fanciful at best, and “dangerously misguided” at worst.
In the jargon used to count the steady accumulation of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s thin layer of atmosphere, he said it was “improbable” that levels could now be restricted to 650 parts per million (ppm).
For the foreseeable future, the global financial-services sector will be wrestling with the grim realities of credit losses, deleveraging, and challenges to traditional business models. With dramatic industry restructuring already underway and a clear need for players to concentrate on the here and now, it would be easy to lose sight of a nascent but significant long-term opportunity: facilitating carbon trading.