A coalition of relief and development agencies like Christian Aid and Tearfund will warn 600 delegates to the ‘UN 3rd World Conference on Disaster Reduction’ in Geneva today of the dangers of climate change.

The agencies will warn delegates that “unless urgent preventative action is taken by governments, climate change will worsen the impact of disasters on millions of the world’s most vulnerable people.”

The NGOs state: “With G8 leaders meeting a day’s drive up the road in Heiligendamm, we have a rare opportunity to simultaneously confront politicians from those same G8 countries, and many others, to take more action to reduce disaster risk and vulnerability faced by millions of people around the world.

But whilst the NGOs warn of the impending dangers of climate change, the message from the business community could not be more different. The issue of climate change is bottom of the priority list for Britain’s largest companies, a survey of business leaders has found and their biggest shareholders are not that bothered by it. This is despite all the greenwashing rhetoric coming from big business.
More than half of the companies surveyed by YouGov for KPMG, the professional services firm, said there were more urgent issues, such as brand awareness, marketing strategies and corporate social responsibility. Just 14 per cent of them had a clear strategy for tackling climate change.

A report from Headland, a communications consultancy, says fund managers do not pay much attention to climate change issues when taking investment decisions, although they admit it will be important in the future.

Instead they regard climate change effects as slow and cumulative and the issue as outside the remit of typical fund managers who “are not looking at 2012, let alone 2050.” Long term for the investment community was about three years, they said.