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Climate change is biggest global problem we’ve seen since World War II, says PwC chairman

Adelie penguins stand atop a block of melting ice on a rocky shoreline at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, in East Antarctica.

Pauline Askin | Reuters

Climate change is the most formidable challenge the humanity has had to face since World War II, and will require similar levels of individual mobilization and collective cooperation.

“We need 8 billion people to make this a personal cause. The world has never seen a challenge like this probably since World War II,” Robert Moritz, chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said on Monday at Climate Week NYC.

“And the reality is that we have to mobilize the whole world,” Moritz said.

“Let me square this up for everybody: We are behind. The reality is, when you look at the numbers, when you look at the academic studies, at least our research would say we don’t necessarily need to double the efforts, triple the efforts, we actually have to five-fold the increase of the change we need to do to decarbonize the world that is going on right now,” Mortiz said.

To do that will require collaboration and cooperation across industries, sectors, stakeholders and leaders.

“How do we pull together all of the puzzle pieces and start to connect them, sector by sector, section by section, country by country to do this?” Moritz said.

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“Everybody’s individual effort is great, but it is in silos and it is miniscule compared to the total decarbonization we have to deal with,” Moritz said.

Coordination will be key.

The actions of finance institutions is one key piece, Moritz said. “Now let’s bring together the multinational banks together, lets actually get the government organizations together to do this, let’s get the business community in here to pull things together….The quicker we can pull those pieces of the puzzles together and then paint the picture with a holistic puzzle, the better off we are going to be.”

Moritz is optimistic that at least the effort is moving forward.

“The good news is, from my eyes, seeing companies interact around the world and government officials, and NGOs and the like, we are making progress,” Moritz said. “You are starting to see these pieces come together.”

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