The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) has today reaffirmed its commitment to helping the UK meet its environmental goals following the publication of a concerning report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC).
The latest report from the government's independent climate advisors warns that action to improve the nation’s resilience is failing to keep pace with the impacts of global warming and increasing climate risks.
It highlights how average UK land temperature has risen by around 1.2°C from pre-industrial levels, with sea levels rising by 16cm since 1900, and episodes of extreme heat becoming more frequent.
Despite this, more than 570,000 new homes have been built that are not resilient to future high temperatures since the CCC’s last assessment five years ago, while over 4,000 heat-related deaths have been recorded in England since 2018.
The researchers highlight how people, nature, and infrastructure will become increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and urge the government to place greater focus on adaptation measures.
In response, IFoA president-elect, Louise Pryor, said: “This report highlights the work the UK needs to do to meet its climate goals across government, regulation, business and through its citizens.
“The IFoA is committed, through the work of its members and policy engagement with government in the public interest, to play its full part in meeting the challenges faced by the existential threat of climate change.
“As a professional body we believe that we have a duty to ensure our profession, individually and collectively, is aware of the challenge and increasingly equipped and skilled to contribute to solutions that will benefit society. This report is a welcome reminder of this imperative.”
The document identifies eight priority risk areas which need immediate attention within the next two years, including::
1) Risks to the viability and diversity of terrestrial and freshwater habitats and species from multiple hazards
2) Risks to soil health from increased flooding and drought
3) Risks to natural carbon stores and sequestration from multiple hazards, leading to increased emissions
4) Risks to crops, livestock and commercial trees from multiple climate hazards
5) Risks to supply of food, goods and vital services due to climate-related collapse of supply chains and distribution networks
6) Risks to people and the economy from climate-related failure of the power system
7) Risks to human health, wellbeing and productivity from increased exposure to heat in homes and other buildings
8) Multiple risks to the UK from climate change impacts overseas
It also identifies a range of steps that will have benefits in the next five years if implemented on a wide scale, such as building design and retrofit, habitat creation and improved access to information on climate impacts.
Pryor continued: “Last year, the IFoA put in place a climate strategy to guide our work in the coming years. This will co-ordinate and drive actuaries’ professional approach to the risks – financial and non-financial – that our clients and the world face.
“We are a founder signatory of the Green Finance Education Charter. For some years we have been supporting our members with resources to develop their climate skills, and this work will continue to accelerate.
“We are deeply committed to collaboration with other organisations, as only through working together can we hope to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
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Author: Chris Seekings