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Global delays in tackling climate change will cost the world’s biggest companies nearly £1trn, according to the United Nations.

The claim is included in an eagerly-awaited report into the effect of climate change on global investments.

The UN will say the economic effects of these delays will cut the value of many industries and lower the returns for investors, including those saving for their pension.

The report, which has been seen by Sky News, concludes that transitioning the world to a low-carbon economy could see the assets of just 500 investment companies fall by more than £8.2trn.

And it adds that the world’s top 30,000 companies will face an extra bill of more than a trillion dollars thanks to slow progress in cutting carbon emissions.

Waves crash in against the harbour wall on November 28, 2018 in Saltcoats, Scotland. Storm Diana is currently bringing torrential rain and 70mph winds to most of the country today triggering a Met Office severe weather warning and also potential flooding.
Flooding could become a much more regular occurrence as the climate changes

The Paris Agreement of 2016 said that global governments should seek to limit the rise in the global temperature to less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Although the agreement has now been ratified by 185 countries, there is widespread concern that carbon emissions remain higher than at any point in history.

In particular, there is a fear that while many people say they want to take action to stop climate change, they remain unconvinced that the costs of change are worthwhile.

I understand the UN believes it is crucial to persuade investors around the world that their financial interests are best served by confronting problems now, rather than risking vastly higher costs at a later date.

But the official leading the Bank of England’s work on climate change told Sky News that financial markets are at “a pivot point” and “further action might be needed” to bring in new regulations to deal with the failure of the market to adapt.

Sarah Breeden, the Bank of England's executive director for international banks supervision
Sarah Breeden, the Bank of England’s executive director for international banks supervision

Sarah Breeden, the bank’s executive director for international banks supervision, said: “Our focus at the moment is dealing with the unprecedented challenge of trying to analyse and understand this risk.

“This is an unprecedented challenge. It is for governments to set climate policy and it’s our job to ensure the financial system is resilient to whatever state of the world we find ourselves in.

“If the market is not doing a good job of managing that risk then it is incumbent upon us to think about whether further action might be needed to mitigate that risk.”

Climate change activists on Waterloo Bridge in London last month
Climate change activists spent many days blocking Waterloo Bridge in London last month

The UN report was written by the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative, and included input from asset management firms around the world, among them the UK insurance giant Aviva.

Aviva's chief responsible investment officer, Dr Steve Waygood
Aviva’s chief responsible investment officer, Dr Steve Waygood

The company’s chief responsible investment officer, Dr Steve Waygood, told Sky News that climate change presents “an existential risk to our sector”.

He said: “The valuation of fossil fuel sector has gone up by about $580bn (£445bn) since the Paris Agreement pen was held, so there is not a managed transition away from fossil fuels. There’s actually more money going into fossil fuels.

“For the governments to think that their job is done now that the Paris Agreement is signed is wrong. This remains the world’s biggest market failure.

“The costs of inaction are categorically higher than the costs of taking action today, much, much higher. This is about economic sense, business sense – of course we care about the pandas and the polar bears as much as anybody – but this isn’t about them, it’s about our shareholders and our customers.”

Later this month, Aviva will use its shareholding in BP to back a resolution that calls upon the company to set clearer targets for reducing carbon emissions. Similar action by shareholders at Shell resulted in the company having to accept responsibility for emissions, and Dr Waygood said that he wanted BP to come up with a clearer plan for dealing with climate change.

“It’s not new to them, they’ve been thinking about it for decades. But I don’t see a strategy that says ‘if Paris were to be delivered, what would that mean?’. What is there strategy? How do they measure performance?

“We can send a message to other shareholders that this is a fundamental issue for the board of BP. They need to think five, 10, 20 years into the future.”

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<a href='' target='_blank'>Tanker crisis requires decisive action or UK will be seen as soft target</a>



<a href='' target='_blank'>Tanker crisis requires decisive action or UK will be seen as soft target</a>

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UK officials: Iran’s seizure of British-flagged tanker ‘constitutes illegal interference’ | World News



UK officials say Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz “constitutes illegal interference”.

The ship was in Omani territorial waters and was “exercising the lawful right of transit passage in an international strait”, Britain’s UN mission wrote in a letter to the United Nations Security Council.

The seizure of the Stena Impero by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was seen as a major escalation after three months of confrontation.

Defence secretary Penny Mordaunt MP said the Iranian seizure of the British-flagged oil tanker as a &#39;hostile and agressive act&#39;

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said the Iranian seizure of the British-flagged oil tanker is a ‘hostile act’

Latest developments:

  • Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told his Iranian counterpart he is “extremely concerned” by the seizure. He also warned there will be “serious consequences” if the tanker is not released
  • Iran’s state media has released footage showing the moment the country’s Revolutionary Guard seized the British-flagged ship
  • UK government’s emergency Cobra meeting discussed guaranteeing security of shipping
  • The UK’s Foreign Office has summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires
  • Stena Bulk, which operates Stena Impero, is making a formal request to visit the vessel. The company has been told its crew members are in “good health”
  • The Iran Revolutionary Guard said it managed to bring the Stena Impero to Iranian shores despite “resistance and interference” from a British warship
  • But Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt told Sky News that HMS Montrose was 60 minutes away from being able to help
  • Iranian authorities have said crew members may be interviewed by authorities on “technical matters”
  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for the British-flagged tanker and its crew to be released – but said all sides must show restraint as escalation risks a “deeper conflict”
  • France said it is “very concerned” by the seizure, and Germany described it as an “unjustifiable intrusion”
  • The European Union has warned the development “brings risks of further escalation”
  • Following the UK’s emergency Cobra meeting, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt stressed that he wants a diplomatic solution to the incident.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt earlier described the seizure as a “hostile act”.

But the letter, which was also sent to UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, said Britain’s priority is to de-escalate and it does “not seek confrontation with Iran”.

However, it added, “it is unacceptable and highly escalatory to threaten shipping going about its legitimate business through internationally recognised transit corridors.”

The UK has called on Iran to release the tanker and told the Security Council it was working to resolve the issue diplomatically.

More follows…

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An assault on the senses: What attending a rocket launch is like | World News



In the heat of a Kazakhstan night, we stood 900m (2,952ft) from the launchpad where a Soyuz rocket readied for take-off. 

I couldn’t help thinking what the men inside the capsule at the top were going through – I know my heart was beating a little faster.

What if something went wrong in front of the families, in front of the world’s press?

And then came the roar, a huge glow before us as the spacecraft ascended. And then another roar, from the families next to us.

The crew were said to be felling good before the launch
The crew were said to be feeling good before the launch

It was a sound not just of pride, but of sheer relief that the launch was going well.

They will have heard – as I did through my earpiece a few minutes in – that the leader of the three-man team, Russian Cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, reported the crew members were all feeling good.

They were at the start of a 200-mile journey to the International Space Station.

Being there was quite extraordinary. We’d spent three days back and forth to the Russian-run Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan awaiting the launch of the rocket on what was the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

That was a happy coincidence which made the launch into space by the cosmonaut and two astronauts from the US and Italy all the more special.

The night before they had told us they were going to wear special badges on their suits to commemorate the Apollo landing.

The crew face the media before the the launch
Our conversations had taken place through a glass partition as the men were in quarantine

Our conversations had taken place through a glass partition as the men were in quarantine until a few hours before take-off.

Seeing the rocket for the first time when it was brought from its hangar had been pretty impressive, but the launch was something else. An assault on the senses. Television does not do justice to what we saw, and heard.

We witnessed something up close few people will ever get to.

It had been a tough few days – 3am starts, after midnight finishes, waiting outside in plus-40 degree heat for the choreography of pre-launch events to take place.

But on the night it all seemed worth it. I left wondering where those men I’d spoken to were now.

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