‘The long-awaited fifth IPCC scientific assessment of climate change poses society with big questions, once again, about how to handle high-consequence but slow-burning risks.’ So writes Jeremy Leggett, chair of Carbon Tracker and founder and chairman of Solarcentury, in his new article, ‘Waking up to risk taking in the global energy system’.
‘We have a worrying collective tendency to be blind to the kinds of risks that can crash economies and imperil civilizations,’ he goes on, ‘as demonstrated by the shocking history of the financial crisis and its dismal prolongation … the conventional energy industry is repeating the failing. The challenges that this throws up for the philanthropy world are profound. But the opportunities are also substantial.’
Most foundations focus their work in the energy arena on climate change and reducing emissions, he says. But the risk taking by the ‘energy incumbency’ – that nexus of Big Energy executives, financiers and their institutional and political supporters who keep fossil fuels dominant in energy markets – extends across much broader terrain than this.
In his new book, The Energy of Nations: Risk blindness and the road to renaissance, Leggett recounts the histories of four systemic risks, intercut with diary extracts. In this article for Alliance, he more briefly outlines each risk and the implications for the philanthropy world. Click here to read more.