In the leadup to COP26, Emex will be publishing a series of blogs to discuss key messages and actions that are needed in order to combat climate change. Our first blog discusses the IPCC Report and looks at what the findings mean for businesses.
The sixth major assessment from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a ‘code red for humanity’ - warning Paris signatories that their pledges are “insufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emission enough” to keep global warming well below 2C.
What can we learn from the report and what impact will it have on businesses as a result? We explore whether businesses are reacting accordingly and how Emex can assist.
Key Points From the ReportThe key points referenced in the report include:
- Sea levels have risen almost x3, and are likely to rise another 2m by 2100
- The last 10 years are likely to be the hottest period in the past 125,000 years
- Global surface temperature is 1.09C higher between 2011-2020 than between 1850-1900
- Atmospheric carbon dioxide is at its highest in 2 million years
The report details how every additional degree of warming will bring more frequent and catastrophic floods, wildfires, heatwaves, damaging droughts, and multi-meter sea level rising.
Nations have delayed cutting their fossil fuel emissions for so long that we can no longer stop global warming from intensifying over the next 30 years. Nevertheless, there is still a short window in preventing the earth from reaching its tipping point. Evidence from the report suggests that if we stop adding carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2050 - which would mean an immediate shift away from fossil fuels and removing carbon from the air - global warming could halt at a level of 1.5C. This, however, would require a coordinated effort from countries and companies to take responsibility for their operations and act now.
The report will form a basis for negotiations at the COP26 global summit in this November. If nations do not act quickly enough and COP26 negotiations end unsatisfactorily, courts will likely become more involved. Two more reports from the IPCC detailing the impacts of climate change on human society and strategies to reduce emissions are estimated to be released in 2022.
What Does the Report Mean for Businesses?
Governments and businesses that do not take immediate action or those who publish greenwashed net-zero plans are likely to face serious litigation. The report may well be used as vital scientific evidence against governments and organisations who do not embed the climate in every decision and action they make.
The recent survey by The Grantham Research Institute indicates that climate change litigation is on the rise - with over 1,000 cases filed since the year of the Paris Agreement (2015), compared to 834 from 1986-2014.
“By strengthening the scientific evidence between human emissions and extreme weather, the IPCC has provided new, powerful means for everyone everywhere to hold the fossil fuel industry and governments directly responsible for the climate emergency,” says senior political adviser for Greenpeace Nordic, Kaisa Kosonen.
“One only needs to look at the recent court victory secured by NGOs against Shell to realise how powerful IPCC science can be,” Kosonen continues. Shell was ordered by the Dutch court to reduce carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 in May this year - a first for court action against a multinational oil company to change business strategy based on climate grounds.
Are We Walking the Walk?
CDP highlighted in a study that few organisations have credible climate transition plans currently. Norway recently announced their commitment to oil and gas, alongside Australia who will continue to fund fossil fuel related research. Australia is at the forefront of the climate crisis as one of the largest fossil fuel exporters, and victim of global warming-worsened disasters including devastating droughts and raging bushfires. Australia’s Prime minister Scott Morrison has since rejected the UN’s report in adopting more ambitious 2030 emissions reduction targets.
However, a delay in strategy is no longer an option because the deadline has been bought forward by 10 years, argues CEO of Verdantix, David Metcalfe. “Fuzzy net zero emissions commitments set for 2040 or 2050 will soon be out of the question without meaningful 2030 interim targets…across all jurisdictions, firms should expect earlier start dates for mandatory climate reporting based on the guidance of TCFD,” suggests Metcalfe.
It is clear that governments and business will have nowhere to hide as the “continued dithering to address climate change is no longer about the lack of scientific evidence,” states Kristina Dahl of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
How Emex Can Help
If companies do not act now to improve the accuracy of the environmental and sustainability data they are reporting, they are likely to be subject to serious claims, which will cost greatly. Emex is on a mission to organise and prepare companies in handling their sustainability data and manage down the very real and large risks they face.
If reports are based on incomplete or inaccurate data, the value of the reports is compromised. Reports are only as impactful as the quality of the data being used. This is why we stress that companies should focus on reporting accurate data. Wonky emission numbers will no longer suffice regulators, investors, or external auditors. Hence, businesses must consider adopting robust systems that can manage automated data collection from the source.
Our predictive forecasting and modelling analysis can help businesses understand if they are on track to meet climate goals, and if not, what they need to do to get there. Gain valuable insights into your data, as our software can assist in identifying issues and anomalies to improve data reliability and highlight problems before they unravel.
If businesses are at the start of their sustainability journeys, we also have experience in guiding companies on what requirements should be tracked and how to do this using our template forms for data collection. Let us help you understand your Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions data.
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