Module 1. Why you should care about ESG? - 15min
Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases
Rapid increase in greenhouse gases could lead us to 2.7°C warming.
The exponential rise in greenhouse gas emissions since preindustrial times has led to an accelerating increase in global average temperatures. A 1.5°C rise in global average temperature is the point at which scientists predict irreversible system changes that seriously threaten our planet and our life on it.
We have already passed 1°C of warming compared to preindustrial times.
According to Climate Action Tracker, current policies in place around the world are projected to result in about 2.7°C warming above preindustrial levels by 2100.
If all the pledges made during COP26 come to pass, this leaves us on course for warming of 1.8°C (the optimistic scenario in the above graph), according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), but this is a big if. And it is still way above what’s safe, as we will see in the information that follows.
What are the potential impacts of global warming on our planet? Scientists predict that key issues, such as the frequency of natural disasters or the stability of our food production systems could be severely affected by increases in the global average temperature.
The net-zero goal: a deep and accelerated reduction of greenhouse gases
It is still possible to avoid worse consequences of global warming after mid-century, but only with deep and accelerated reductions in CO2 and other GHG emissions in the coming years. Limiting human-induced global warming to any level requires reaching at least net-zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions.
Net zero represents a pathway for a 1.5°C world. Net zero does not mean “zero emissions” but rather that any new emissions will have to be absorbed, for instance, by forests. Roughly, the level of global CO2 emissions needs to stay within 1.5°C of warming by 2050. This means that we are not adding new emissions to the atmosphere and that new emissions will be balanced by removing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere.
Urgency is prompting action
Sustainability is becoming mainstream and climate change should be everyone’s concern. Our very lives on this earth are threatened.
Here are some of the actions
- 90% of global emissions are now covered by net-zero pledges
- Increase in sustainability-related regulations across the world
- Investors are increasingly joining sustainability-related initiatives, such as the Principles for Responsible Investment.
- Global sustainable fund assets continue their upward growth strategy
- More than 1,000 companies are now committed to meeting the Science Based Target’s initiative (SBTi), a 20-fold increase from 2015