Analysis by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes the prediction in its ‘Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’, which studies the effect of global warming on sea levels.
It says 90% of the 1 degree Celsius rise in average global temperatures above pre-industrial levels seen thus far has been absorbed by the oceans, having a major impact on sea life and corals. The Paris Agreement signed in 2015 aims to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.
However, record levels of carbon emissions that show no signs of abating have accelerated global warming. The IPCC report now warns that unless drastic action is taken for the world to become carbon-neutral by 2050, global warming may become uncontrollable.
Global warming is causing the ice caps to melt, with record levels of glacier melting seen this summer in the Arctic and Antarctic, disgorging billions of tons of fresh water into the ocean. The problem is made worse because frozen areas such as permafrost trap carbon that is released when it melts, causing a vicious cycle of further warming.
The IPCC report says that global average sea levels could now rise by up to 1.1m by 2100, up 10 cm on previous estimates. Rising sea levels threatens dozens of large coastal cities and those that lie on tidal rivers, including London, New York, Mumbai, Shanghai and Jakarta. It also risks flooding countries that lie below or at sea level, such as Bangladesh, the Netherlands and most islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
One way that investors can help the fight against global warming is by investing in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 13 on Climate Action. RobecoSAM’s Global SDG Equities strategy systematically screens a diversified group of companies based on their SDG impact scores – including their commitments to decarbonizing – and selects the best ones for the fund.
“For nearly two decades RobecoSAM has been in the business of anticipating significant structural trends that will impact the environment and business models. Climate change is a very powerful and very visible example of one of those trends,” says Rainer Baumann, Lead Portfolio Manager for the strategy.
“Our SDG fund invests in companies which are enabling the transition to a low-carbon economy through clean energy solutions as well as in companies helping to reduce carbon emissions through energy-efficient tools, services, and infrastructure. In addition to climate change, the fund provides exposure to all 17 SDGs – all of which are aimed at protecting life, society and the planet.”