By Dr. Kasia Weina, Director & Founding Partner, Evergreen Labs –
Climate change has definitely become a “hot” topic in recent years and for climate prone regions including Asia. Currently, we are emitting 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year.
This is an insurmountable amount and we are not on track for lowering this number by any means as recent reports have shown.
Where are these emissions coming from?
Outlined clearly in Bill Gates recent book “How to avoid a climate disaster: the solutions we have and breakthroughs we need”, greenhouse gas emissions are coming from things people are doing such as making things 31% (cement, steel, plastic), plugging in 27% (electricity), growing things 19% (plants, animals), getting around 16% (planes, trucks, cargo ships) and keeping warm & cool 7% (hearing, cooling, refrigeration).
You might be surprised to see this breakdown as often people believe renewable energy is key to getting to zero emissions, however you can see this is not the case and emissions are coming from everything that we do.
What are we doing about it and what is COP about?
Understanding these topics and responsible industries is even more relevant as we approach the upcoming 26th conference called the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties or COP26 for short.
The first COP meeting was held in Berlin in 1995 and it was an event where nations come together to discuss global progress towards tackling climate change. However, years passed where little progress was made until COP21 in Paris where almost every nation in the world agreed to a climate treaty to halt climate change as we know it.
COP26 is hoping to have similar outcomes and momentum with the goals to deliver aggressive pledges from countries across the world to further cut carbon emissions faster than ever before. The UK states its four key goals for COP 26 as:
- Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5C within reach
- Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
- Mobilise finance
- Work together to deliver
However, despite such ambitious goals being set at COP21, including the treaties striving to keep warming below 1.5°C this year marks the 5-year anniversary where we observe the failure of the world to keep the warming to below 1.5°C.
But what does this 1.5°C degrees really mean and what’s the fuss about?
In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a special report by the world’s top climate scientists on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and the findings were even more devastating than previously thought.
The overall findings from this report co-authored by 133 experts and drawing on over 6,000 peer-reviewed research articles concluded that every fraction of a degree of warming matters for our planet and letting them rise will devastate lives (in both rich and poor nations), natural systems (including coral reefs being wiped out) and the economy as we know it. Moreover, the latest report by the IPCC published in 2021 illustrates that we are already living in the climate change era and we need to act fast.
According to the report, it is only possible to avoid warming of 1.5°C or 2°C if massive and immediate greenhouse gas emissions cuts are made. The Guardian described this report as “the IPCC’s starkest warning yet” a resounding theme across press as well as global leaders and activists around the world.
Leading up to COP26, these stark findings must force new policy measures as a simple matter of urgency to quickly shift towards a low-or-no carbon emissions world.
The upcoming COP26 event will see 197 countries meeting between Oct 31, 2021 – Fri, Nov 12, 2021 in Glasgow.
For more information about Evergreen Labs, refer to our website and learn more about our solution-driven approach to tackling climate change in emerging Asia.
For more articles from Sustainable Vietnam on COP26:
- What you need to know about the upcoming COP26 climate conference by Dr. Kasia Weina, Director & Founding Partner, Evergreen Labs
- The Thorny Issue of Climate Finance by Richard McNally, Global Leader on Sustainable Forest & Landscape Management; Sustainable Finance; & Climate Change
- 101 on Climate Change, COP26 & Business Resilience by Christina Ameln, Sustainability Strategist & Advisor
- Building Resilience to Climate Change by Oliver Woodruff, Senior Engineer, Ove Arup & Partners Vietnam
- Experts Talk on Vietnam’s Commitment at COP26 with BBC Vietnam – comments by Christina Ameln, Sustainability Strategist and Advisor
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