Is it possible to predict climate change? And, more importantly, can it actually be avoided? While the scientific community almost unanimously acknowledges the existence of both climate change and its anthropogenic causes, there is less certainty when it comes to its possible consequences. But pinpointing what they are is essential and this is why we have just signed a new agreement with the ICTP (the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics) in Trieste, one of Italy’s leading scientific research centres. The two-year “Climate Change and Resilience” project will see the ICTP conduct a study on the evolution of climate conditions between 2020 and 2050 in three geographical areas of interest to our Group: namely, Italy, Spain and South America.
Enel is one of the key players in the process of transitioning the energy sector to a business model that limits the impact of climate change, and this project sprang from our awareness of the need for this kind of research. The aforementioned model is characterised by: investments in zero greenhouse emissions energy generation (renewables), reducing exposure to fossil fuels, and the development of new services and technologies to support greater flexibility and efficiency in our use of energy.
Analysing the scenarios that could develop over the coming decades is thus of fundamental importance both in spotting new business opportunities and targeting investment towards managing negative impacts. This is what we mean by our resilience: a skill that involves a flexible, versatile approach which many are now describing as the “virtue of the future.”
Choosing a partner of the calibre of ICTP adds value on many levels. Firstly, it is an indisputably authoritative scientific institute and, at the explicit wish of its founder, Abdus Salam, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, it places great emphasis on emerging nations, which are also of strategic importance to the Enel Group.
The team that will carry out the research will be headed by the renowned climatologist Filippo Giorgi, one of the world’s leading experts in the field. From 2002 to 2008, Giorgi was a member of the board of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This is the leading international climate change organisation and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. There could be no better guarantee that the project will be successful, in other words.
The simulations planned as part of the project will examine climate parameters such as air and sea temperature, annual precipitation levels and also frequency of droughts and extreme events. The end result will allow us to evaluate the resilience of our assets and our business to the impacts of climate change.
That said, our interest in this particular high-priority global issue is ongoing. Enel is one of the large global companies that support the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), headed by American entrepreneur and former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg mandated by the G20. The Task Force’s goal is to draw up recommendations for companies on voluntary disclosure relating to risk and opportunities arising from climate change. One of the Task Force’s key recommendations is clear, complete, timely and regularly repeated disclosure of the possible impacts of climate change on areas of corporate performance sensitive to financial reporting. The ICTP co-project will help us to start down this path ourselves.