My wife and I like to say that if not for the last minute, nothing would get done in our house. In our extensive testing, we have found that there are actually several stages of last minute;
The not-quite-yet last minute where the pressure hasn’t yet kicked in and the we-are-up-against-it-now last minute where it's all hands to the pump. The worst though, without a doubt, is the gut wrenching, panic inducing, the-last-minute-was-actually-yesterday realisation that after much shouting, crying and wall-kicking, requires an effort of herculean proportions to pull your delinquent past self out of the path of imminently occurring disaster.
And yet, this is where we find ourselves.
The time was yesterday to reduce our impact on the planet. In order to do that we need to fully understand our carbon emissions and how our actions affect them.
1. The time is now
According to the recent IPCC reports, the window of opportunity to make a tangible impact on climate change is closing fast, and exists only for the next few years.
The first report, published in August 2021 confirmed that the past 5 years were the hottest on record, and that the planet was on track to blow past both the 1.5 oC and 2 oC temperature rise targets unless serious reductions to emissions are made.
The second, published in February this year, highlighted the negative consequences already occurring and warned of the irreversible effect on our planet and to the people living there. Over 40% of the world’s population are highly vulnerable to the climate.
The third instalment, released on the 4th of April 2022, painted a stark picture. To keep below a 1.5 oC temperature rise global emissions must peak by 2025, and be reduced by over 40% in 2030. We aren’t on the scale of decades anymore, but single years. We are still able to make the difference but drastic action is needed, right now.
Nature has the capacity to have a big impact on solving the carbon emission problem.
Those measures taken on environmental efforts are highly cost effective, but are not yet funded. We all need to be more proactive in addressing the issue. It is both nature and industrial change that are required. It is still possible.
2. Current events risk energy futures
One of the biggest results from COP 26 was the agreement to phase down unabated coal usage. The current desire to reduce dependence on gas across the western world, however, has led to an increase in coal usage, and an associated rise in average carbon emission factors (the amount of CO2 emitted for each unit of electricity produced) across Europe. All the while the costs of crude oil, petrol, heating and power have all increased dramatically.
The answer, now more than ever, is the green recovery promised but not yet delivered upon. The sun shines and the wind blows with little regard for world events, and the more we can harness these, along with reducing our requirements for fuels, whether through electric vehicles or better insulation and building policies the safer and cleaner our energy future will be.
3. Regulation is getting more stringent - not keeping up will cost.
For many years carbon emissions reporting was a voluntary pastime and the threat of greenwashing a small puppy that could be easily entertained by wagging a tasty PR campaign in front of it.
No longer. The dog is all grown up with sharp teeth, be they government requirements, increasingly stringent reporting regulations, crippling greenwashing accusations or costly lawsuits. To name just a few of these changes in the past 6 months.
4. How ready are you?
How ready are you and your company for this new world?
There aren’t any excuses any longer. You need to know your carbon emissions, know them accurately, and be working to reduce them now. Act now as the cost of playing catch up is never worth it.