Lots to improve – messages from the new IPCC report
The new IPCC report emphasizes urgency to act but also reveals specific fields in which action is required and can make an immediate impact.
You might have read about the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report last week. If you read all 18 chapters, you’d know that the report investigates all kinds of climate impact factors and evaluates their meaning for climate change and global climate targets. The report does not only emphasise numbers – specifically greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – but also focuses on correlations and how one factor can influence another over the long-term. This means that the conclusions drawn from it are very valuable for any decision maker.
The IPCC report's new findings
But what are the outcomes from the report? Where should businesses’ focus their sustainability efforts in the next couple of years? Well, the report shows one thing explicitly: To ensure that global warming is limited to a rise of 1.5 degrees, emissions management is required now, and on a large scale. But it also reveals that there is still enough time to slow down climate change. Before we investigate the specific implications we can get from the report, let’s investigate a small forecast on where we are at the moment.
Bright solutions to reach 1.5 degrees of global warming
The report estimates the global warming will exceed 2 degrees, particularly if we do nothing about the scale and speed of our actions. But the good thing is, we are not yet at the point of no return, that is, where ecosystems can no longer recover from climate change. There are specific recommendations that one can take from the report – most of them are not new. The only thing that changed is that technological advancement means we have better possibilities to reach sustainability targets. Let’s investigate them together and see what each of us can easily do to get a bit closer to our goals:
In theory, all the tools needed to reduce emissions already exist. This means we can counteract climate change with what we already have. Why is it not happening? Big players are not doing enough yet. So, if you are part of a great solution towards reducing emissions, make sure the world knows about it. Especially technologies using artificial intelligence are seen as a gold standard in reaching sustainability targets.
Partnerships can enhance your impact enormously. Climate change can not be fought alone. It is a global problem, consisting of complex interactions. If we want to drive change, we need to partner up to bring together our expertise. Partners can help you fill your own gaps and develop new solutions that have far more impact than your solution alone. They also enable you to share costs and risks. You see? There are only positive outcomes from finding like-minded partners.
Political and especially legal decisions are guidelines that make a difference. We’ve seen in the past that voluntary decisions alone do not bring enough change. Therefore, political decisions need to guide companies towards a transition. Politicians can help companies understand where they should start and what matters the most. Again, these political decisions have the most impact if countries partner up to reach them. Luckily, there is a lot happening on the legal front lately. The newest regulation in public discussions is the US SEC’s implementation of mandatory disclosure of scope 3 emissions – a big step into the right direction. The UK also just released new measures that obligate big companies to disclose any kind of action that comes with negative impact on the climate. The obligation to publish any kind of climate impact action is a great step into the right direction because once you understand the context, you can act upon it.
Our lifestyle is very carbon intensive. It is necessary to focus on massive carbon emitters in order to reach the scale, that is necessary to achieve a true impact. This includes energy, heavy industry, urban communities, transportation, and agriculture. Luckily, all these fields are turning towards sustainable solutions. Many companies and communities have committed to net zero emissions already. We hope that the IPCC report will wake everyone up, so we can see what is needed: a reduction in global emissions, that is not a result of a limited pandemic but is created by true action.
With this positive outlook on all the things we can potentially do today, we hope to give you some inspiration to go and activate your contacts. Reach out to like-minded people and see what you can do now and in the coming months. It’s possible if we work together.