At the current rate, 1.5 degrees Celsius will be reached in 20 years.
November was a big month for climate, with excitement around renewed talks at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow and Biden’s signing of the U.S. infrastructure bill. The U.S. seems to be moving beyond climate denial and is now acting. However, recent commitments by countries may not be enough for the inevitable disruptions caused by global warming. Is it too late?
In August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a new report warning of irreversible changes due to global warming. This includes sea level rise. The average temperature has increased by 5% per year since the pre-industrial era. Global temperatureThe global temperature has risen to 1.1 degrees Celsius. We are already seeing the devastating consequences of this increase in communities all around the world. We will soon reach the 1.5 degree Celsius international warming limit at the current rate in 20 years. The impacts will get worse beyond this limit. Extreme heat will affect 37 percent of the population worldwide at 2 degrees Celsius. The predictions get more dire for 3 and 4.
Our global imperative
To limit Global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, EmissionsWe must reach net-zero by 2050. We must act together, and we must act quickly. But where do we start? We published a new book, The Decarbonization Imperative: Transforming Global Economy by 2050, in October. Our belief is that massive disruptive innovation across major industrial sectors is the only way for us to decarbonize in the shortest time possible.
The following three things were clear when I wrote the book.
- There is no silver bullet.
- Each sector will require a targeted policy approach to accelerate clean tech adoption.
- Only through the engagement of all stakeholders will we be able to move the needle on climate change.
COP26 talks chart a new course
COP26The countries came together to form bold new commitments to climate change. Thankfully, many announcements made by governments offer a pathway to take action. The Global Methane Pledge was led by the U.S., EU and other countries. It committed more than 100 nations to reducing methane emissions by 30% by 2030. Countries representing 91 percent of the world’s forests committed to working together to stop and reverse loss and land degradation by 2030. Five major financial institutions and 20 countries pledging to end support for fossil fuel energy by 2022 were among the five. Leaders from South Africa, India and China announced individual targets. The United States committed to 100 percent renewable energy in 2035. These commitments signal to world that climate change has been a priority. However, the actions of many stakeholders including policymakers, consumers, and businesses will determine whether these countries are able to achieve these goals.
Climate is a priority for the U.S. Biden government. The Infrastructure Bill is a good place to start. Many were disappointed in the removal of Clean Electricity Performance Program. This would have penalized utilities for slow adoption of renewables and provided incentives for those that exceed government-imposed standards. However, there are many things to celebrate.
The final bill will provide $65 billion to improve the national electricity network to support renewable energy expansion. The Decarbonization Imperative calls to electrify the transportation, building, and industrial sectors. To support the increase in electricity demand and the shift to renewable energy, the national grid will need expansion and modernization. renewable energyThis will enable the addition of energy storage and more distributed, less central sources of energy. The $65 billion funding will accelerate a shift already underway, with solar and wind becoming increasingly cost-competitive. fossil fuels.
The bill also includes $7.5 million in funding to create a national library. Electric vehicleNetwork for charging. We are less convinced than others that such a network needs the funding. Private interests are already mobilizing to ensure charging is available, despite major car companies making commitments to eliminate gasoline-powered cars within the next 10 to15 years. Although federal investment in a national network signals that electrification is imminent to the vehicle market, it would be more effective in sectors where cleantech solutions are still being commercialized.
Learn the contents of the tea leaves
The Infrastructure Bill will offer many opportunities for investment and employment in the transportation and energy sectors. We need to see shifts in order to decarbonize our global economy. Zero-carbon technologiesand best practices in all key sectors, including agriculture and industrials. And it’s in these sectors that a lot of exciting innovation is happening. We explore solutions such as vertical farming, meat cultivation, green cement and hydrogen, as well as concentrated solar, bio-based plastics, and structural timber. These “harder to decarbonize” sectors will be part of the next wave of climate tech investments, led by coalitions like Bill Gate’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures, and they offer incredible market opportunities for those who engage early.
While decarbonization is essential, it will not be simple. Our Climate crisisThis is creating opportunities to invent the clean technologies that will shape our future, creating the next great companies, driving job creation, and fueling economic growth. This future is not possible in a vacuum. Although the COP26 pledges are promising and the U.S. Infrastructure Bill is a good start, it will take a greater concerted effort by many parties in the U.S. to create the conditions for a decarbonized future.
Click here to see Forbes India’s comprehensive coverage on the Covid-19 situation and its impact on life, business and the economy
[This article has been reproduced with permission from University Of Virginia’s Darden School Of Business. This piece originally appeared on Darden Ideas to Action.]