The role of the private sector in achieving a 1.5°C scenario2018-10-252021-07-08https://foodwaste.tech/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/foodwaste-tech-logo3.pngFoodwastehttps://foodwaste.tech/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/continents-earth-globe-41950.jpg200px200px
On October 8th, 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report of “Global Warming of 1.5° C”. The report states that the global climate crisis is increasing, and human activity is overwhelmingly responsible for greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions. World leaders were warned that immediate action must be taken in order to combat severe consequences due to come if the current problem is not addressed efficiently. In other words, countries must lower their GhG emissions to halt irreversible damage. The term 1.5° C describes the ideal or goal to which humans should aim to limit global temperature rise. In contrast, other scenarios such as a 2° C global average warming would increase the loss of biodiversity and extreme weather.
“Climate change is running faster than we are- and we are running out of time.”- Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, 2018.
About the IPCC
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a group of world-renowned scientists working together to provide information to global leaders and policymakers about the changing climate. It was founded in 1988 by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to create a scientific basis for policy and to provide information about the world’s changing climate. The topic of global climate change became a rising concern in the 1980s. Since then, IPCC has been creating first-class information for governmental leaders and world policymakers.
Brief History of Policy to Limit Global Temperature Rise
Since the Cancun Agreements in 2010, global policy leaders made the goal to limit the global average temperature rise from exceeding 2° C. This goal was revisited at the Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany in October 2015. Recently, the United Nations presented a new report stating that they were nowhere near the goals described in the Cancun Agreements. If no action was made, future generations will suffer as lands will grow infertile, species will die off. This chain of biodiversity collapse will create a domino effect affecting food supply, habitable areas, and increase social inequalities due to the expected increased migration and struggle over limited resources.
The seriousness of the problem was evident, and quick action had to take place. Shortly after, the Paris Agreementwas signed in 2015 and ratified in 2016. 195 countries signed and endorsed the document, committing themselves to more ambitious goals of limiting climate change.
This image depicts the brief timeline between the IPCC formation and the critical agreements up to the present day. Image source: IPCC, 2018
Special Report of 1.5° C
The 1.5° C report was drafted by 91 scientists and 44 nationalities worldwide. At the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, the IPCC accepted the request to draft reporting global impacts 1.5 C changes would make on the planet. The results are somber at best. Once again, human activity has not been able to limit its global GHG emissions.
The report was broken into five chapters and an introduction brief summary for policymakers, and a glossary at the end.
“Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming 5 above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate. (high confidence) (IPCC 1.5)
The 1.5° C report provides a summary report to policymakers and five chapters of research. The summary briefly explains the meaning of 1.5°C and its importance, the risks, and threats of global warming, emission pathways, how to respond, and other core concepts. (Summary for Policymakers)
The entire report is broken down into the following.
How does just half of a degree within the world’s average temperature create such an important difference? It may sound small, but half a degree can help prevent extreme measures to the planet, including rising sea levels, global heatwaves, and the survival of our biodiversity including thousands of animal species, endangered coral reefs, and fighting pollution.
“With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, the report found that limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society. While previous estimates focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by 2°C, this report shows that many of the adverse impacts of climate change will come at the 1.5°C mark. (UN Climate Change)
The report thus marks that climate change will already bring irreversible damage, and we will continue to see increasing problems such as extreme heat ripples, loss of species, and food shortages.
In this graphic, the IPCC demonstrates the differences in how much different ecosystems are at risk for 2°C compared to 1.5°C.
In response to the report, Greg Harmen wrote a short response that was included by the World Resources Institute summary of the report. He states that we should not be blinded by environmental threats, and we still have a responsibility to act accordingly as stewards to this planet stating, “Holding warming to 1.5°C rather than 2°C will see around 420 million fewer people being frequently exposed to extreme heatwaves, the report notes”.
Part of the report calls on global response and collaboration with policymakers and leaders to create major changes in how we are using resources. World organizations have the leverage to influence global leaders and private economic superpowers to shift their market dynamics. The growing pressure is put on other business owners to make statements about climate change. To secure their corporate sustainability credit, many corporate CEOs and other world giants will be likely to comply.
“By 2050, renewables are projected to supply 70-85 percent of electricity in 1.5 ̊C pathways. Energy efficiency and fuel-switching measures will be critical for the transportation sector. Reducing energy demand and improving the efficiency of food production, changing dietary choices and reducing food loss and waste also have significant potential to reduce emission”(United Nations)
The key for businesses to innovate for the 1.5°C degrees is to respond to the rising consumer demand for sustainably sourced products and services. A shift in this market demand give innovating businesses an upper hand by providing to the growing trend in sustainable consumer interests, which will eventually become normalized for future businesses to flourish. Rather than remaining in a business as usual (BaU) scenario, the businesses that focus on progressive growth will meet the foreseen demands to come. This change in consumption will lead businesses to adapt to the market with more sustainable products and solutions.
Redemption for the Auto Industry
Right now, the EU is pushing new laws and restrictions to commit to renewable energy and lower nonrenewable shares.People will still need transportation, fuel, and technology. As industries begin to aim to align themselves with the goals set in the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) consumers will also increase demand for more carbon-neutral products.
It’s no surprise that the Auto industry is under the spotlight amidst demand for sustainable new policies and products. The industry is already adapting to other forms of energy using solar-powered and electric cars rather than cars that run off of fossil fuels. Brands such as Tesla quickly rose as global auto giants in just the past decade. In The Morning Star co, the British journal for finance wrote on October 9th, 2018 that the estimated demand increase in electric solar-powered cars such as Tesla will likely increase its sales due to reactions from the IPCC report.
“We forecast hybrids to make up 21 % of global auto sales in 2028, which would make electric vehicles and hybrids 36% of total vehicles. Our top picks to invest in growing electric vehicle adoption include Albemarle, BMW, BorgWarner, Edison International, General Motors, and SQM .-( Morning Star Equity Analysts in their article “Tesla to Benefit from IPCC Climate Change Recommendations”.)
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla made a tweet shortly after the 1.5° C Report was published in October.
Elon Musk reacts to the special report of 1.5° C just after release.
The IPCC has also made it clear that investments for renewable energies will need much more investment to reach the 1.5° C goal to avoid the consequences of a 2°C temperature rise. The best-case scenario includes a holistic shift to renewable energy and better consumption habits by industries and consumers alike.
How the Food Industry will Adapt
Agriculture, food shortages and global diet patterns were also addressed by the IPCC in their contribution to global warming. Food trends are intertwined with land-use practices are crucial issues that can also be addressed in terms of their sustainability. While writing about obvious ways to lower the global carbon footprint, Green biz compares renewable and agriculture.
“Renewables must seize control to provide 70 to 85 percent of power by 2050, while energy-intensive industries will need to slash their emissions by 75 to 90 percent by mid-century, and buildings and transport also will need to shift heavily towards low-carbon models. Agriculture and land use will be another target area, with an urgent drive to boost reforestation and improve soil health to create new carbon sinks”. – GreenBiz
Image Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) illustrates the global dollar worth for food wasted or thrown away. Stating that in 2012 the market value for food waste (which is any food products lost or wasted) was 936 billion US dollars. (FAO)
In the above FAO illustration, different GHG emissions are compared side by side with the global food waste footprint. The basic message states that the amount of GhG emissions food waste collectively emits is the equivalent of the highest GhG emitting countries in the world (FAO).In other words, food waste is a silent problem in comparison to the auto industry but creates a huge impact on society. More importantly, it is one of the easiest issues to address.
Individual Action Makes a Difference
Businesses and consumers alike can take action by weighing and measuring one’s individual carbon footprint and try to think about sustainable choices in your everyday purchases. Large international organizations such as WWF offer questionnaires and tools to measure the individual’s carbon footprint and how to reduce it. Find your carbon footprint here.Secondly, civilian pressure on governments can push policies against oil drilling permits, harmful subsidies to agriculture or fishing companies can demonstrate the global push for a more sustainable world.
A Future Prediction
“Making this monumental shift will require substantial new investments in low-carbon technologies and efficiency. The report finds that if the 1.5˚C goal is to be met, investments in low-carbon energy technology and energy efficiency will need increase by roughly a factor of five by 2050 compared to 2015 levels.”(WRI, Kelly Lavin).
The summary of 1.5° C report to policymakers should not only regard governmental figures but also CEO’s and global corporate giants, and those running stocks on Wall Street. The climate issue is not only an environmental issue but will progress to be a monetary issue. As agents of the United Nations, bodies such as the World Bank and International Monetary Program also need to innovate towards the regulations suggested but the 1.5° C report. UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued this video just one month regarding next year’s UN campaign about climate change. But the more action must be taken by businesses. A joint collective is needed in order to create a long-lasting difference.
It’s evident that businesses and the rest of the world will have no choice but to adapt to new practices in order to keep global warming from exceeding 2C. However, this sort of action will require collaboration with government municipalities, consumers, and businesses.
Business innovation to limit climate change will react in a way that is innovation, encourages creativity, engineers and entrepreneurs. If harnessed correctly, businesses may lead the way to create immediate climate change supported by civilian and governmental demand.
The businesses that can accommodate the demands of the future will harness the future market. It’s time to see who can win the race to be green.
While You’re here…
We appreciate your time and interest in reducing your food waste amount. Food Waste Tech is committed to giving back, and we believe in making efforts to support many other efforts to better the environment. But we cannot do it without your help.
In order to support the expansion of possibilities between partners and collaborations in efforts to grow and receive partnerships for those fighting for a better world, we hope to share with you other pioneers making a difference for a better world
Food Waste Tech has identified two missions that closely resemble what we believe in. We’ve identified them as planting a tree in the Rainforests of the Amazon OR contributing to research funding on growing seaweed farms to reduce CO2 and acidity in oceans, to protect marine life.