Can we keep it below 1.5 degrees celsius? / Climate change can’t be under lockdown

1 September, 2021

2020 was one of the warmest ever recorded. The extreme weather fueled by the coronavirus crisis was a double blow for millions of people in 2020. While Covid-19 took human society by storm, the threat posed by climate change has not gone away. 


Human influence and activities have increased the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, driving the temperatures. Consequently, reports of extreme weather and melting glaciers are more alarming than ever. 


Climate change is visibly altering the way we live – we are now facing water shortages and low food production all over the world. Extreme weather events like heat waves, storms, and floods will soon make many regions inhabitable. People in poorer countries, who are more prone to consequences, will not be able to adapt and suffer the most. 


Red alert for humanity 


The recent IPCC report is ‘code red for humanity’. The major UN scientific report records extreme heatwaves, natural catastrophes, and a temperature limit being crossed in just a decade. IPCC documents strongly show concern that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, waters, and land.


But on a positive note, scientists say that the catastrophe can be avoided if we act fast. Dips in greenhouse gas emissions can control the soaring temperatures. But if the current outlook towards climate change continues, in the next few years, we will have no control over the situation. 


In this blog, I intend to make you realize that the situation is a lot more urgent than we think and we have very little time to take action to reverse the catastrophe of climate change. 

How will climate change affect your business?


Climate change is likely to bring challenges for society and businesses. Some of which are known and some unpredicted in the coming years. Climate change will have a direct impact on the business in several ways – 


  1. Disrupted supply chain
  2. Government mitigation measures 
  3. Flooding events 
  4. Increased vulnerability to extreme weather 
  5. Restrictions on usage of resources


With the high risk of uncertainty, climate change can cause significant disruption to your business and make it difficult to protect your business. 


Going Net-zero – A ray of hope


In the Paris Agreement, governments have agreed to keep global warming right below 2 degrees celsius and take appropriate action to keep it less than 1.5 degrees celsius. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report in October 2018 with a 1.5 degree Celsius target. The report concludes that global emissions need to reach net-zero to limit the warming up to 1.5 degrees celsius. 


What does it mean?


Today, there are technologies in every sector that has the potential to bring emissions to zero. However, there are sectors like aviation and agriculture where the technology is limited to bring emissions to zero. 


Emissions from these industries are likely to occur. Therefore, an equivalent portion of carbon dioxide needs to be removed from the air to nil the effects of carbon emissions by these industries, bringing it to absolute zero. This can be termed as ‘carbon neutrality. The UK Climate Change Act expresses the goal of reaching the net-zero target by 2050 in terms of greenhouse gases. 

Feeling the heat? 


Climate change seems like the beginning of a scary film. Europe has recently experienced one of the worst floods in the centuries, with China suffering the worst floods ever experienced in a modern infrastructure setting. Currently, corporate businesses have everything at stake because of climate change. But there is a light to get through the tunnel. 


There is no doubt that the dense, in-depth reports indicate significant warnings regarding climate change and its impact on human society in the next decades. It is seriously alarming, with the small islands to be impacted first but soon after, nobody can escape the clutches of climate change. Whether we take action or not, it is most likely that climate change would push humanity to make huge changes in our lifestyle. 


The IPCC report goes out to reflect the difference between a 1.5-degree celsius increase and a 2 degrees Celsius increase before pre-industrial times. The half a degree might not seem like much difference, but the effect over the coral reefs, crops, and the entire ecosystem will be far more drastic. 


The claims of cutting the emissions by 45% by 2030 and sourcing most of the electricity from renewables seems a good target but the report also states that merely cutting the emissions or lifestyle changes is not enough – It also calls to act according to the situation at the same time and get ready for the worst consequences. 


Your business does have a significant role here! 


It is more likely that your business will most likely be affected by the government to help reduce the greenhouse gas reduction targets. It may include – 


  1. The climate change levy – It is a measure that would help businesses improve their energy efficiency. You can pay the levy along with the energy bills. The levy amount can be reduced by switching to renewable energy alternatives 
  2. Climate change agreements and contracts – If your business is already an energy-efficient industry, you might be eligible for a reduction in the levy to meet energy reduction targets. 
  3. The EU Emissions Trading System – If your business is one of the energy-intensive sectors, you might have to report the CO2 emissions and meet the targets set. 


Besides the policies, the businesses can also champion climate action: 


  1. Measure the carbon footprint: The first and the most essential step towards climate change is to assess the current state of carbon footprint that your business has over the environment. It is essential to measure the greenhouse gas emissions that your business generates annually. Once you set a benchmark for your business, you will be able to work on reducing the carbon footprint from the existing level. 
  2. Create an action plan: Once you measure and set targets, laying out a plan of execution is by far the most important step. This means that you need to do adequate research on the exact activities that cause greenhouse gas emissions and how you can reduce them. Some of the key focus areas – Supply chain, energy, transportation, and food supply. 
  3. Set emission reduction targets – Once the climate change plan is mapped out, it is essential to understand the emissions sources, revise and reinforce the plan. Be sure to have cost estimates of the climate action plan so that you know the time and cost that it would take. 


For economic, humanitarian, and environmental reasons, corporate leaders must take action to combat climate change. Companies may make a difference by monitoring emissions, developing a climate action plan, establishing emission reduction targets, tracking progress, and supporting legislation that helps mitigate climate change.

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