The Sixth Assessment Report on climate change from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the third part of which was published earlier this month, has not been an easy read. Global CO2 emissions rose by +6% to 36.3bn tons in 2021, more than offsetting the reduction in 2020 due to Covid-19. The sustainable recovery much touted by governments has so far yet to come to fruition.
The development of the Clean Energy sector has historically been significantly impacted by previous energy crises. The war in Ukraine and its major impact on energy markets will be no exception. Sadly, it took a tragedy at our doors for us to come to realize that renewables and energy efficiency are not only about climate change, but also about our independence, freedom, and future prosperity.
While global leaders convened in Glasgow to achieve a low-carbon future, we can reflect on a very different picture in current energy markets.
There are mixed feelings coming out of the COP26. On the one hand, there were multiple new agreements and declarations that progress in the fight against climate change. On the other, they do not yet go far enough: we’re only just keeping the 1.5°C scenario alive. Pre-COP 26, we were on course for 2.7°C warming and the announcements during the conference put us somewhere between 1.8 °C and 2.4°C, depending on which study and organisation you believe. Of course, the devil is in the detail and the implementation. There is an enormous amount of work to be done to convert these commitments into action and to work out how these commitments will be policed.
While the financial sector is often accused of greenwashing, it is important to remember that responsible investments can only be made with truly sustainable companies. This is why sustainability reporting standards for companies are essential.
It has been over a year since our daily lives were modified by the COVID-19 pandemic. The shutdown of our countries’ activities has already had heavy effects on the economy, education, mental health, and has brought to light models that are probably here to stay, at least in some forms.
December 2020 was the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate accord, marked by a climate summit held in the UK with 70 world leaders. In advance of this milestone, the UK threw down the gauntlet to other countries by elevating their emissions reduction target to 68% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, 11% higher than the previous target. These targets are considered the second toughest in the world, following only those of Sweden.
Bill Gates recently published his new book, a green manifesto called ‘How to Avoid a Climate Disaster’. We’re still reading our copy but we believe a core element to this manifesto is noteworthy – addressing the price differential between a fossil-fuel-based way of doing something and the clean, non-emitting way of doing the same thing – what Mr Gates calls the Green Premium.
This week South Korea became the third large Asian economy to pledge carbon neutrality, marking a major milestone for the fight against climate change. All three countries, China, Japan and South Korea, are in the top 10 country emitters of carbon dioxide in the world due to a continued reliance on coal-powered energy, and together represent over a third of annual global emissions.
California seems to be in the eye of the storm at the moment when it comes to the impacts of climate change. Images of yellow smoke-filled skies are proliferating news sources and social media, the result of wildfires that are seasonal for the state due to hot and dry weather, but that this year have burned through over 5 million acres already, worse than any year in the history books. The season for wildfires usually continues until December and may continue to force people to stay at home due to the air quality, further impacting businesses already reeling from the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.