After unprecedented heat waves in Canada and the western United States, burning forests in Siberia, fires and floods across Europe, and extreme weather in China - all in the past few months alone - the contents of the new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) do not come as a surprise to most. Nevertheless, the findings from the report are alarming: if the global community does not succeed in drastically reducing emissions right now, these extreme events are only harbingers of much worse to come.
The time has come to take serious action. This is no longer simply a distant 'problem' that people on the other side of the world or later generations are forced to deal with. This is a crisis that is affecting our lives, here and now.
More than 180 people perished in Germany and Belgium from devastating floods in July 2021. It was Germany's worst natural disaster in more than half a century.
In the IPCC report, over 100+ scientists - who together stand behind the opinion of the report - determine that the earth has already warmed by almost 1.1°C compared to pre-industrial times. The past five years have already been the warmest on record, and with every further increase in temperature, down to a tenth of a degree, extreme weather events will occur more frequently, more intensely, and more widespread. The climate as we know it is out of balance and no region of the world is spared, including Central Europe. In fact, temperatures in Europe will rise at a greater rate than the global average. Flooding will only increase, combined with possible agricultural and ecological droughts. Glaciers will continue to melt and sea levels will rise. And all of this within our lifetime.
According to the report, there is still an opportunity to stabilize global warming between 1.5°C and 2°C in the long term and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. But this is achievable only in the most optimistic of all the scenarios presented, and in order to achieve this it is necessary to radically reduce and prevent emissions immediately.
These severe warnings - and this tiny glimmer of hope - come in the leadup to COP26, being billed as the “first corporate COP." It is time that businesses step up to take responsibility and turn our fate around where policy has so far failed. So far, some companies are showing their leadership by taking voluntary climate action, but the numbers of companies taking responsibility and planning for the future are still in the thousands, while we need this number to be in the hundreds of thousands to curb climate change and the climate emergency.
So what does this mean for the growing number of businesses who are increasingly putting sustainability - and competitiveness - into focus? For sustainability managers, there are four main takeaways from the IPCC report:
Investments in renewable energy are one of many solutions to reduce corporate carbon footprints.
The good news? You can take action starting today. There are plenty of avoidance solutions available right now to cut your own carbon footprint. There are professionals who can help you design a long-term strategy. And you can get ahead of impending regulation and your competitors by taking steps today.
South Pole has been supporting companies on their way to greater sustainability for over 15 years, and with this report from the IPCC we are more energized than ever to help companies take action without any further delay. Regardless of whether you have already defined goals and implemented your first reduction and compensation measures, or whether your sustainability journey is just beginning, our experts will be happy to help you find the way on your Climate Journey.
“Starting is easy. Get in touch with us and we can help you begin your Climate Journey.”
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