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Keeping you in-the-know on environmental, social and governance developments

I’ve written a lot in the past about the need for companies to continually evaluate and update their assumptions embedded in their climate mitigation strategies, disclosures, goals and targets. The heat of this summer is a visceral reminder, but here is another example of how things are changing and the complexity of making business predictions.

According to a study published last year by The Economist, a single season of wildfires in California alone (summer 2020) released 127 million tonnes of stored carbon. Experts estimated that the volume of greenhouse gases produced by wildfires from 2003 and 2019 ranged between 15 million and 22 million tonnes annually.

“In 2020 the figure jumped to 127m tonnes. That is 30% of the state’s total emissions from power, transport, buildings, industry, waste and agriculture in 2019, the last year for which such data are available. It is also half of the emissions budget that the state has set itself for 2030 as part of its climate targets.”

That volume is greater than all emissions voided by 17 years of state climate policy, between 2003 and 2019. What damage hath the past three years of wildfires wrought? And what about beyond California? How is your company planning on addressing these risks and other major unforeseen developments in climate risk management?

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile