Charlotte Street Partners



Time for an all-nighter?

Written by Tom Gillingham, associate partner
Edited by Kevin Pringle, partner
4 December 2020

Good morning,

When it comes to climate change, it feels like the world is channelling its inner student by leaving the equivalent a of long and complex essay until the very last minute.
For so long now, the deadline for delivering real action has been remote enough to promote inertia, and the challenge has simply been too complex for successive generations of governments, companies and individuals to properly grasp.
But now, it really does feel like we are approaching decision time on this vital issue. The National Audit Office (NAO) has released a report saying that meeting the UK’s existing net zero targets will be a “colossal challenge”.
The NAO pulls no punches in the analysis. It says that the costs of achieving net zero are highly uncertain, but also makes clear that the cost of failing to act would be far greater still, because of the need to adapt to substantial changes in climate.
It’s hard to deny there is now more global consensus at least on the existence of the climate change crisis. The post-it notes have been stuck, the snacks have been bought, the workspace has been laid out – but the metaphorical pen has yet to touch paper in a meaningful way.
The UK government’s ten point ‘green plan’ has been followed by renewed commitments to accelerate the pace of decarbonisation efforts, but the devil is clearly in the detail, and the delivery. Meanwhile, all eyes are across the pond on president-elect Joe Biden. There is hope that he can bring the US back into the global fold on climate change, but there is also a lot of damage to be repaired. And, of course, COP26 should have happened by now. Although the conference is expected to go ahead in Glasgow next year, the additional time that has elapsed simply makes future agreements all the more challenging.
If the world is acting like a lackadaisical student on climate change, it really does feel like we’ve reached panicked all-nighter territory.

At least reports like this from the NAO might help convince decision makers that action now really is the only option. As Alex Massie pointed out in our most recent Beyond the Street, the recent Covid-19 vaccines “are a reminder of what humanity may achieve when it is required to address a single task of the utmost urgency.”
We’ve done a huge amount of damage to our planet already though and, after a bruising year, do we really have the global stamina for another last-minute rush to meet an existentially crucial deadline?


With time running out, the UK and the EU will resume talks on a post-Brexit trade deal this morning, despite senior UK government sources being downbeat on the chances of a breakthrough. There is a suggestion that Brussels has hardened its stance on how common rules and regulations should be enforced.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson has vowed to step up the pace of Britain’s decarbonisation efforts. Ahead of a UN climate summit, he pledged to cut emissions to 68% below 1990 levels by 2030, up from the previous commitment of 53%.
America’s top infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci has pulled back from his previous suggestion that the UK’s Covid-19 vaccine approval process was rushed. He has now said: “I have a great deal of confidence in what the UK does both scientifically and from a regulator standpoint.”

Business and economy

Denmark will end all new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea as part of a broader plan to phase out fossil fuel extraction by 2050. The step, by the EU’s largest producer, comes as it puts itself forward as a climate change leader. (£)
A wide-ranging review of UK gambling laws is to be launched next week. It will consider banning sports sponsorship and limiting online casino stakes. The review could roll back many elements of the 2005 Gambling Act amid concerns about gambling’s role in wider society.
The UK government has announced it will cut £1bn from the rail infrastructure budget following the chancellor’s spending review. The decision has put a question mark over some long-planned improvements to the country’s railways.

Columns of note

Writing in the Times, James Forsyth claims a Brexit deal will be done in days. He concedes that previous deadlines have come and gone, but he insists that this Sunday night, or at the absolute latest Monday morning, it really is the end of the road. His optimism comes from his belief that ‘no deal’ would simply be too acrimonious for either side to seriously contemplate. (£)
Dr Charlotte Summers, lecturer in intensive care medicine at the University of Cambridge, writes that we have every reason to trust the Covid-19 vaccine, despite the quick roll-out. She says the most useful thing that medics and scientists can do is to urge people to say ‘yes’ to the vaccine when it is offered.

Cartoon source: The Times


What happened yesterday?

London stocks closed up yesterday, building on solid gains on the day before despite ongoing Brexit jitters. The FTSE 100 finished up by 0.42% at 6,490.27, and the FTSE 250 increased by 1.28% to 20,132.44.
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day up 0.29% at 29,969.52, and the Nasdaq Composite was up by 0.23% at 12,377.18. By comparison, the S&P 500 slipped 0.06% to 3,666.72.
In currency markets sterling was up, gaining 0.97% on the dollar to $1.35, and improving 0.65% against the euro to reach €1.11.
In company news:
Shares in J Sainsbury increased by 4.14% after it said it would pay back more than £400m in business rates relief received from the government to help cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. Investment platform AJ Bell also improved by 6.71%, as it upped its dividend and reported an increase in full-year profit and revenue after gaining a record number of customers. At the other end of the spectrum, Hochschild Mining dropped sharply, by 12.58%.

What’s happening today?


Stenprop Limited

AB Foods
Ruffer Investment Company
VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund

UK economic announcements
(09:30) PMI Services

Int. economic announcements
(07:00) Factory Orders (GER)
(13:30) Balance of Trade (US)
(13:30) Unemployment Rate (US)
(13:30) Non-Farm Payrolls (US)
(15:00) Factory Orders (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

According to Medical News Today, 20% of students pull all-nighters at least once a month.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

No business scheduled

House of Lords 

No business scheduled

Scottish Parliament 

No business scheduled

Share this post

Copyright© 2020 Charlotte Street Partners