13 August, 2021
The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report has confirmed what many of us already knew to be true: climate change is happening, we are the cause, and we must act.
Hotter, wetter and more unpredictable weather, as we have seen across the world this summer, will become the norm. Even if the world doubled down on carbon reduction, the planet would only just stay within the necessary 1.5 degree warming window. Even with our best efforts, sea levels will keep rising, wild fires will multiply, flooding will increase, and community adaptation and mitigation will be needed to protect those at risk. The report is unequivocal: significant action is needed now to reduce emissions. And if we focus on the most carbon intensive first, such as methane from oil, gas and agriculture, we can still avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
This is good news: it is still in our power to make a positive impact. But we need to act quickly, and we all need to take responsibility. This is not just a problem for politicians, farmers and fossil fuel industrialists to deal with. We believe that every decision in every business should be viewed through a climate lens. It’s not just about which energy provider you choose (though that is crucial), it’s about everything you do: product development, consumer engagement, corporate strategy… At every turn, our actions big and small need to be directed towards quickly and effectively moving to a low-carbon economy. It is these wide-ranging decisions that will ultimately dictate our societal direction of travel and the culture change necessary to hit critical reduction targets.
Not only will a climate lens drive better decision-making, it will provide opportunities to drive transformation on the other major crisis of our time: inequality. Emissions reduction will require a near-revolution in the global economy, and we have to ensure that this revolution creates a society that is fairer and more inclusive. Greener and more equal can and should come hand-in-hand, mutually reinforcing one another.
We need to be bold and we need to start now. Without a planet there are no winners, but as we fight to save our environment it will be those businesses and organisations that embrace change fast and fully that will benefit most. All our energy should be focused on finding positive solutions to the crisis issues that face us – solutions that will allow humanity to thrive within our planetary boundaries.
Those that achieve this will be the winners, in every sense. We can do this.
By Jennie Mitchell