It is clear in recent years that a greater awareness of climate change has brought a new sense of urgency worldwide and greater pressure on global leaders and larger corporate entities to initiate programmes to address both the root causes and the impending impacts of climate change.
A key platform that established a framework for a united, global response was the Paris Agreement completed in December, 2015 and ratified by 189 countries.
The principal defining goals of the Paris Agreement to reach net zero emissions by 2050 are:
- Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 deg. C above pre-industrial levels and pushing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 deg. C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this will significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change
- Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production; and
- Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.
The Paris Agreement also requires signatory countries to outline how they will meet their individual commitments and to regularly report their progress. As a result there has been increasingly regular reporting of interim transition goals and strategies towards reaching the planning 2050 net zero goal.
Specific actions which can contribute to solutions to mitigating the impacts of climate change include:
Elimination of Fossil Fuels—The first challenge is to eliminate the burning of coal, oil and, eventually, natural gas. This can’t happen overnight but must be the ultimate goal, not only for the generation of energy but from plastics and other products that use them in their production.
Innovate other Fuels—this is probably the greatest challenge of all but some inspired innovation has already taken place to supplement some existing technologies in solar and wind, eg. biofuels, hydrogen in various forms, nuclear but most have their own drawbacks at the current time.
Upgrading building infrastructure —Buildings worldwide contribute around one third of all greenhouse gas emissions. Energy-efficient buildings and improved cement-making processes (such as using alternative fuels for production) could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the developed world and prevent them in the developing world.
Proximity solutions —creating national and regional solutions for products that have supply chains stretched across the world would create significant positive climate effects.
Production & consumption — explore innovative and best practice agricultural solutions and work to educate consumer eating habits.
Maintain our forests and wetlands—protect our forests to allow their contribution to absorbing and preserve other natural environment to ensure the biodiversity that exists today is not lost.
These solutions are just those basic requirements and each is interconnected in some way with the other and our daily lives. We must educate ourselves and wherever possible make some personal contribution to reducing GHG emissions and lobby Government and Industry to make impactful contributions.
University of Cambridge – Institute for Sustainability Leadership “The state of climate change and the underlying science” 2021.
Scientific American - Climate Change Solutions