Emperor’s New Climate Scenarios wins Climate Risk & Sustainability Award

23 October 2023

We delighted to announce that The Emperor's New Climate Scenarios by Sandy Trust, Sanjay Joshi, Tim Lenton and Jack Oliver has won Climate risk research paper of the year in InsuranceERM's Climate Risk & Sustainability Awards 2023.

The awards recognises team leaders in climate risk management and the winners are chosen by an independent team of judges comprised of senior industry experts on climate risk and sustainability.

Sandy Trust, Lead author and Past-Chair, IFoA Sustainability Board, said:

“I’m really delighted the joint IFoA Exeter University paper, the Emperor’s New Climate Scenarios has won the InsuranceERM Climate risk research paper of the year. Thank you to fellow authors Tim Lenton, Jack Oliver and Sanjay Joshi – and thanks also to Mike Clark for all his support of the paper and its findings.

“Of course it’s the message in the paper that is important – a simple message that climate models in financial services are significantly underestimating climate risk, particularly in the hot house scenario. It’s as if we’re modelling the impact of the Titanic hitting the iceberg but excluding from our models the possibility that the ship could sink and two-thirds of souls on board perish.

“But it is not just financial services models that have limitations and uncertainties – Earth system models have significant uncertainties too and we may have also underestimated how quickly the planet will warm, which has profound implications for carbon budgets and the pace of climate change impacts.

“To address this, education is key for all users of climate models and people making decisions based on their output. As well as education, rich narrative scenarios to explore how these risks might impact, as well as a realistic downside hot house stress.”

David Thomson, IFoA Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said:

“We would like to congratulate Sandy Trust, Sanjay Joshi, Tim Lenton and Jack Oliver on this well-deserved award. It’s a really important piece of work which ensures the actuarial profession is working in the public interest to challenge current assumptions. The report has been described by climate experts as essential reading which points the way to a more realistic assessment of risk and is another example of how the actuarial profession can contribute to the management of climate risk.”