This issue of The Actuary has a strong environmental focus and challenges readers to consider how actuaries can help address the biggest challenge of all: the overheating of our planet due to human activity, and the consequent costs to humanity.
With the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, scheduled to be held in the UK in November, there has never been a better time to get involved. The science of what is happening is not in doubt, but much work remains to be done to establish what to do about it. If we are to make an impact in this area and create real change, we must all work within our own institutions to initiate dialogue and build engagement.
Sandy Truss, Wendy Walford, Matt Saker and Patrick Cleary offer practical advice on how actuaries can become more active in this area, whether that’s through modelling and scenario analysis, learning about climate science, volunteering, thinking broadly and making connections when giving advice, or simply asking their employer, “What are we doing about this?”. Louise Pryor and Nick Spencer discuss the IFoA’s recent progress on climate-related risk and their work as co-chairs of the Climate-Related Risk Taskforce.
Travis Elsum’s feature on biodiversity loss and its financial consequences is especially relevant in light of the fact that the UN Biodiversity Conference, COP15, is taking place in May. This will be an important opportunity to discuss the interdependence of climate and biodiversity and agree a framework to tackle the issues, as well as set targets and objectives. We also feature articles by Han Li and Qihe Tang, who search for evidence linking extremes in temperature with mortality and find a strong cold temperature effect, and Dhiran Dookhi, who explores techniques for assessing climate change risks associated with asset portfolios and liabilities.
I hope this issue inspires you to think about how you can play your part to address these important issues.