Mohammed Chunara's (MSc Petroleum Engineering 2003) career spans over twenty years of international experience across asset management, investment banking, strategy consulting, corporate governance and climate risk.
In his current role at the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), Mohammed leads the Group’s approach to climate risk, including TCFD, and supports on delivery of LSEG’s science-based targets and net zero initiatives, ensuring LSEG effectively responds to latest market developments and delivers on its ambition to be a recognised sustainability leader in global financial markets.
Outside of work, he's a passionate advocate for social mobility, and works with the Greater London Authority to help young people from all backgrounds unlock opportunities to play their part in London’s future.
Tell us a bit about the work you’re doing now.
My work today involves advising executives and boards on the impact of climate risk and opportunity on governance models, corporate strategy, operations and decarbonisation pathways for their businesses.
In this endeavour, I’m leading a highly specialised team with deep expertise in climate risk and carbon markets, and who are passionate about the work we do advising private and public sector organisations on how best to navigate the increasingly complex and rapidly changing policy, regulatory and financial market conditions in response to the demands of the energy transition.
What inspired you to work in climate action?
Energy remains a critical component for powering our economies and lives. However, it is clear that the way we have used fossil fuels historically to provide energy is no longer sustainable. In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, we are living through a nature and biodiversity crisis, and all of this leads us to conclude we have to transition to a different energy supply paradigm, and we need to do this quickly if we are to keep 1.5 degrees within reach.
Whilst this is imperative, there are real challenges society has to overcome in order to move to a lower-carbon world. Issues with regards to energy security, and ensuring a just transition, both nationally and internationally, are critical, and require creativity and innovation to resolve.
Looking at this with optimism, the evolution to a greener economy presents us with a generational opportunity for renewal and growth, and playing a part in this whole economy transition fascinates me. This means I have a real drive and passion to work with peers to embrace opportunities presented by the transition to a lower-carbon world.
What have been your career highlights and lowlights?
A highlight has definitely been the opportunity to travel and experience different cultures, an ambition I've had from a young age. On the flip side, you will inevitably be tested on occasion, but I think it’s important to learn and develop as a result of those experiences, to make sure you continue to grow as a person.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about climate change and global warming?
I think one of the misconceptions is that climate change will occur at a distant time in a distant place, whereas the reality is climate change is happening now.
Beyond the physical impacts we see on our TV screens such as wildfires and hurricanes, the effects of climate change are chronic, and are resulting in significant negative outcomes globally, from communities in Mexico suffering from the loss of the Colorado River, to the degradation of farmland in the Middle East resulting in migration away from ancestral lands.
The reality is that our world has a limited remaining carbon budget to prevent a temperature rise of more than 1.5 degrees, and unless we take action now the economic and geopolitical fallout of runaway global warming will become apparent to us sooner than most of us think. The time to act on climate is now.
What recent developments or innovations in your sector give you hope for the future of climate action?
I think the coordinated call to action we are now seeing from civil society, financial markets, regulators and policymakers will drive the change in attitudes required to drive change at a systemic level. A lot of the technologies we require to decarbonise are still immature, and we need all of our collective creativity and ambition in order to be successful in this endeavour.
Are there any resources (books, podcasts, documentaries, etc.) on climate change you can recommend?
The ‘Outrage and Optimism’ podcast with Christiana Figueres is an excellent source for the latest developments in the climate space. I also enjoy listening to the ‘High Performance’ podcast with Jake Humphrey, with guests from the world of business and sport who talk through their view of what defines high performance, and of which I find insightful.
What does a typical day look like for you now?
Checking in with my team on the latest climate market developments, making sure we are on track with live projects, and meeting new people and businesses who could benefit from our advice takes up most of my day. The great thing about working in climate is that there is always something new (and controversial) to talk through every day, so no two days are the same!
What are your plans for the future?
We are just at the start of the energy transition, and so continuing to learn and develop the new technologies and political developments with regards to climate suggests an uncertain, but exciting, future for all working in this area.
Can you tell us about your studies at Imperial?
When thinking back, the real-world applicability of the programme was of most benefit; I was able to apply knowledge and techniques immediately upon embarking on a career in the energy industry, an ability which I felt gave me an edge over my fellow graduates in industry.
I was fortunate enough to win a scholarship for my studies, and given the fundamental importance of energy to the global economy, combined with the international nature of career opportunities on offer, made the opportunity to study at Imperial an irresistible one.
What is your favourite place at Imperial and why?
Given the amount of time I spent in the library, it is the only place I remember and so by default has to be my favourite place!
What would be your advice for current students?
Continue to read, learn and develop competency in climate change. It's a subject matter which is moving so fast, if you don’t keep pace you will quickly fall behind the curve.
What makes you proud to be an Imperial alumnus?
Being an alumnus of a world-leading academic institution that continues to take a leading role in shaping global issues brings a sense of pride.
What one word or phrase would you use to describe Imperial alumni?
Do you have a favourite quote or saying?
An empty vessel makes the most noise.