It seems that every Government regulator fears missing the bus. The bus with the giant mantra painted on the side that says ‘Business must address climate change!’ ASIC is the latest. It is reported in today’s press that ASIC will target companies that fail to disclose climate change risks to their shareholders.
I agree with ASIC’s conclusion: business should address climate change risks. Not because I believe that the earth is on a catastrophic path to being uninhabitable (it isn’t) but because of the policies and regulations that I fear weak-kneed right-of-centre governments will introduce. The difference between right-of-centre governments and those of the left is measured in time, not policy. The policies of the left are eventually implemented by the right.
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself, said Franklin D. Roosevelt in another time and context. Today, we have nothing to fear from the climate but plenty to fear from climate policy and the zealots and fantasists who use it as an excuse to implement massive social and economic changes with the intent of breaking down the nation state operating a market economy. Government regulators are merely what Lenin could have described as useful idiots.
Business must act. It is essential that business leaders make themselves heard. The risks of a slowly warming planet are effectively irrelevant. The timescales involved are simply too long. Risks to business are in the here and now: fraud, mismanagement, industrial accidents, cyber crime, product disruption etc are a clear and present risk. So are the risks of economically unviable power prices, lack of power reliability, political risk of regulation imposed on certain types of business and associated capital cronyism where astute, but unethical, individuals extract taxpayer subsidy for otherwise unviable products. These are the real risks of climate change.