21 April 2021

The pandemic, Biden, and new technologies will make this an Earth Day to remember

By Cervest

The pandemic, Biden, and new technologies will make this an Earth Day to remember

Earth Day’s theme this year, ‘Restore our Earth’, speaks to our values at Cervest, and aligns with our vision for protecting the planet’s assets. While Earth Day has frequently been at the center of progress on climate for decades, this year holds particular importance.

In this post, our CEO and founder, Iggy Bassi reflects on Earth Day’s special significance in 2021, with some fellow Cervestians lending their perspectives. Iggy cites three underlying factors why Earth Day 2021 will be like no other.

COVID-19 has revealed and heightened calls for climate action

The pandemic has demonstrated the urgent need for climate action and shown that global collaboration is the only way to achieve planet-scale change.

COVID-19 has brought the inequality and fragility of our planet and its people into sharp relief. It has revealed our fundamental connections, and our ability to tackle planet-scale, paradigm-shifting challenges—if we work together. And, like tackling the pandemic, restoring our Earth is fundamental to our human and economic security.

The sooner we are able to harmonize our human activity with nature (which must include restoration), the faster we can operate within safe, sustainable, planetary boundaries. There is no magic-bullet for this, and inclusivity and justice must be factored into new policies and investment. However, with the right governmental and business action, and technologies to make sense of our interconnected world, transformation is possible.

Cervest’s Chief Climate Risk Officer, Sachin Kapila, agrees. Commenting on the complex systems that must be understood in order to drive restoration, he says, “Planet Earth is resilient; it can heal and restore itself, if due care is taken. But we need to provide this care at a sufficient scale to make a difference. Humans depend on a planetary interconnected system—our water, food, soils, energy, and atmosphere are all interconnected. Restoration must look equally across those boundaries and within those specific systems. After all, climate affects all these systems.”

President Biden has strapped rocket-boosters to U.S. climate initiatives

Early in his Presidency, Biden made it clear that the climate emergency was a top priority by rejoining the Paris Agreement and pledging to make the U.S. economy emissions-neutral by 2050. Most recently, he has invited 40 global leaders to join a virtual summit focused on enhanced action on climate. China’s recognition of the urgent need to tackle the climate crisis and not only attend the summit, but also its commitment to accelerate action should be welcomed. The outcome of such events will highlight the true impact of his leadership, shifting him from symbolism to being the first President who changed the course of the U.S. and its contribution to tackling the climate crisis.

The truth is that our planet cannot recover without action from the world’s second largest emitter and its largest economy. If he gets it right, climate action could be Biden’s legacy, equivalent to that of Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’. In fact, it could even be bigger. This isn’t just about rescuing the U.S. economy, but securing the planet’s future, as is often the case, where the US leads, others follow.

Welcoming Biden’s attention to climate while calling for accelerated action, Laura Zamboni, Climate Scientist & Data Engineer at Cervest adds, “The pandemic has exposed how much was previously taken for granted. People, governments, and enterprises have begun to connect the dots and see that the climate crisis threatens to impact our Earth on a scale worse than COVID. Investments and concrete action have accelerated significantly. Biden has acknowledged the scale of the challenge and taken it to the U.S. lawmakers and Treasury in a way that we haven’t seen before. These actions signal that now is the time for the bold and transformative.”

New technology is helping us meet climate challenges at an unprecedented scale

To turn plans into action, stakeholders—from governments through to businesses—need to be able to make sense of the climate’s complex and tangled physical systems.

We need to build climate literacy and democratize access to Climate Intelligence—both as a means to manage and understand risks, and as a way to unlock business competitiveness, further motivating others into action.

Maxime Rischard, Lead Scientist at Cervest, agrees. “Whether for restoration, adaptation, or mitigation, Climate Intelligence, delivered through a platform like Cervest’s, that brings science-backed insights to the level of an individual organization, will be key to turning monumental societal pressure and good intentions into real change.”

Critiquing the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) framework

Does the TCFD go far enough? Iggy expresses cautious optimism, but identifies the areas that need improvement, from standardisation to mandatory disclosures.

Iggy’s Earth Day message

According to Iggy, “Earth Day is the perfect time to remind ourselves that assets are owned but risks are shared. Let’s use Earth Day 2021 to accelerate actions that will protect and restore our greatest assets, including the one we all share, our planet.”

What are your thoughts on Earth Day 2021?

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