The news on climate change isn’t good. The World Meteorological Organization warned
that limiting the Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius is “barely within reach,”
with the past eight years on track to be the warmest on record. This has been fuelled
by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations despite pledges made in 2015 in Paris
by almost 200 nations to cut emissions.
Yet, despite this bleak prognosis for the planet, corporate executives are still having difficulty appreciating the severity of the problem. This insight came out of research undertaken by Oliver Wyman and the Climate Group for our joint report, Getting Going. In it, we identified the barriers to corporate climate action. One of the biggest may be executives downplaying the problem: Out of 130 climate professionals surveyed, around one-third currently consider climate change a minor concern; less than 10% consider it an existential threat. They expect to become more concerned over the next 30 years, but if companies don’t act now, it may become impossible to reverse course.