Bridging the ambition gap [with video]

This blog post is following on from various previous articles. The first is ‘Science-based targets in a nutshell’, the second is ‘Ambitious commitments by universities’, and the third is ‘Ambitious commitments by state and local governments’ in Australia. While it is great to see so many ambitious commitments by climate change leaders, more businesses need to follow this lead and help bridge the emissions gap and act on climate change.

Despite the increased focus on climate change in the last few years and the milestone Paris Agreement, global greenhouse gas emissions have not reduced, and the emissions gap between where we should be and where we are is larger than ever.

As you can see figure 1 below, which is being updated regularly by Climate Action Tracker, without additional efforts, human-caused carbon emissions may increase to over 100 billion tonnes annually by 2100, which is double current global emissions.

2100 Warming Projections, Climate Action Tracker - Sep 2020 update
Figure 1: 2100 Warming Projections, Climate Action Tracker – Sep 2020 update

You can see a simpler version of this graphic in figure 2. The main driver of long-term warming is the total cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases over time. In the past decades, greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing.

Global warming projections, 100% Renewables
Figure 2: Global warming projections, 100% Renewables

Due to all historical and current carbon emissions, global temperatures have already risen by about 1°C from pre-industrial levels.

Continuing with business-as-usual could result in a temperature increase of over 4°C.

If all countries achieved their Paris Agreement targets, this could limit warming to roughly 3°C.

However, to limit warming to 1.5°C, current Paris pledges made by countries are not enough.

Carbon emissions need to start to decline rapidly in the near future and reach net-zero by mid-century if we are to have a chance of keeping warming to 1.5°C.

To bridge this ambition gap, not only do governments need to act, so do businesses and communities. To keep temperature increase within safe levels, you need to track along the 1.5-degree line, and to do that, you should set yourself carbon reduction goals in line with science. For every one year of failed action, the window to net-zero is reduced by two years.

It’s time to take a stand on a global stage and act on climate change. So what are three steps you can take?

  • Set a target in line with science
  • Develop a climate action plan
  • Reduce emissions in your business and your value chain

I recorded a 3-min video of a presentation on this topic I recently held for one of our clients, which you can watch here:

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their climate change strategies and action plans, and supporting the implementation and achievement of ambitious targets. If you need help to develop your Climate Change Strategy, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

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