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What we must avoid: 2°C

Tess Chilton

Recently the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report was published with a very clear and urgent message. This report is the most detailed and authoritative assessment if climate change science to date. It states that since the 1950s there has been drastic changes in the environment. There has been a warming of the atmosphere and oceans, rising sea levels, growing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events and the highest levels of greenhouse gases then there has been in the last 800,000 years. The main cause of these changes is from humans

A recent economic analysis on the cost of climate change reinforces the IPCC’s analysis. These two coinciding reports call for a renewed political action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Both of these assessments come to the same conclusion. We are currently on a path to a global mean temperature rise in the range of 1.5°C to 4.5°C by the end of the century, and to avoid dangerous climate change, we must hold this temperature rise to a limit of 2°C.

The effects of surpassing 2°C will be devastating and irreversible. The most critical impacts will be on the availability of food and water, spreading of diseases, involuntary displacement and increase in violent conflict. All of this will disproportionately affect the poor. The UN has stated that if temperature rises above 2°C that 600 million people will face malnutrition by 2080. It is predicted that there would be an increase in droughts, cyclones, floods and sea level rising that would result in diminishing agriculture. 20 to 30 percent of plant and animal species are likely to be at risk of extinction, which could put entire ecosystems at risk. Ecosystems provide our world with everything from medicine to clothing.

Climate change is happening it is what scientists call an inevitable surprise. Yet, we can stop temperatures from surpassing 2°C. The question is how do we do this? BSR has addressed two of the biggest contributors to global warming and has put together two reports on how to make a change through them. These reports are Business in a Climate-Constrained World and the Future of Fuels, the two of them together hope to mobilize our global business network, insights, and expertise in support of sustained business action on climate change.

Future of fuels research has shown that transportation fuels contribute to more then 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is the driving force behind greenhouse gas emissions. BSR’s Future of Fuels goal is to be a leader in changing this problem. It plans to bring experts together to help global companies understand the impacts of their transportation fuel system and then collectively make a plan that is sustainable and affordable.

In the Business in a Climate Constrained initiative BSR outlines a few key steps businesses can take to become a more durable business and increase their climate benefits:

-“Find and focus on the opportunities for greatest impact throughout the system based on a comprehensive and holistic understanding of current products/practices and new alternatives.

-Similarly, focus on opportunities to collaborate for scale and the sharing of cost/risk, joining the best of existing programs and strategically filling the gaps with new initiatives where needed. The magnitude of the challenges (and opportuinities) presented by climate change are beyond even the largest global players. Collaboration will take many forms, from common policy positions and standards to shared investments in new technologies.

-While addressing climate change is essential, companies must also manage wider sustainabiltiy impacts. This matters in its own right, and it is necessary for enabling large-scale, durable climate solutions.” Source: Business in a Climate-Constrained World

 

1 Comment

  1. katielowell

    Obama must follow our blog and read this post! …Ok well maybe not. But Washington DC is making some positive moves in the right environmental direction. Obama will bypass Congress with new policy that forces power plants to cut emissions by 30% over the next 15 years. This is one of the biggest actions taken by the US government, not to mention the biggest taken by any US president, to slow climate change. To read more in-depth check out this article on Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-01/obama-said-to-propose-30-cut-of-power-plant-greenhouse-gases.html

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