Climate Change: Enel and the ICTP are one step ahead

Published on Friday, 13 April 2018

While the scientific community is almost unanimous in recognising the reality of climate change and its man-made causes, its potential consequences are less certain.

Establishing what the effects of climate change may be, however, is essential; a fact acknowledged by our Group. Enel is playing a leading role in the transition currently taking place in the energy sector with a business model that is focused on limiting the impact of climate change. The model is structured into different fronts: investments in forms of energy generation that do not produce greenhouse gas emissions (renewables); reducing the exposure to fossil fuels; developing new services/technologies, including software platforms, to support greater flexibility and efficiency in the use of energy.

Within this context, predicting the scenarios for the coming decades is fundamental both for identifying new business opportunities and for channelling investments and anticipating potential negative effects. This is the essence of our resilience: a quality that involves flexibility and adaptability, that many claim is the virtue of the future.

For this reason, we have signed an agreement with the ICTP (The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics) in Trieste, a centre of excellence in the Italian Scientific Research. The project, which will last for two years, is called “Climate Change and Resilience,” and involves the production by ICTP of an analysis of the possible climatic conditions concerning the period between 2020 and 2050 and beginning with three geographical areas that are fundamental for our Group: Italy, Spain and South America.

The simulations will take into account climatic parameters such as the air and sea temperature, annual precipitation, and the frequency of droughts and extreme weather events. The final result will enable us to evaluate the resilience of our assets and our business to the consequences of climate change.

The choice of the ICTP as our partner represents an added value for a number of reasons. It is an institute of undoubted scientific authority and due to the explicit will of its founder, Nobel Prize Winner for Physics Abdus Salam, it has a particular focus on emerging countries, which are of notable strategic importance for our Group.

Furthermore, the ICTP has demonstrated a deep interest in the project: this has been confirmed by the selection of the team that will conduct the research. The team will be directed by the highly respected climatologist of international renown, Filippo Giorgi, one of the world’s leading experts on climate change. From 2002 to 2008 Giorgi was on the board of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading authority on climate change and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its “efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations that are needed to counteract such change.” Without doubt this is the greatest possible guarantee of the project’s success.

For our part, our interest in climate change issues and their consequences is far from transient. Under the guidance of our CEO Francesco Starace and our CFO Alberto De Paoli, who signed the statement of support, Enel is one of a number of the world’s large companies that support the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), chaired by the American businessman and former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. The aim of the task force is to formulate recommendations for companies about voluntary climate-related risk disclosures and opportunities to incorporate into their official financial communications in order to provide full information to their stakeholders and the various interested parties, beginning with investors and financiers.

One of the aspirations of the task force is to promote the transparent, complete, punctual and regular disclosure in financial reports of the possible impacts of climate change on “sensitive” aspects of company performance. The project “Climate Change and Resilience” enables us to embark on this journey.