‘What we really need now is all major emitters to play their part…’
The response to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report can perhaps be summed up as one of concern.
Commenting on the report’s findings, which the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson called ‘sobering’, a letter signed by several senior UK Government scientists, including Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser advising on COP26 noted: ‘The release of the first part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report makes for stark reading… The report also dispels any notion that the effects of the climate crisis are abstract or distant. Extreme events are being felt across the world…’ The letter adds that while average global temperatures between 2011 and 2020 were 1.1oC higher compared with 1850 to 1900, limiting global warming to 1.5oC is ‘ambitious – but it is not fanciful.’ The letter continues ‘Working back from 2050, it is clear that reaching net-zero requires a renewed emphasis on science and innovation…’
Responding to the report Alok Sharma, COP26 President-Designate, called on the G20 group of nations to take action, together they represent 80% of global emissions. ‘What we really need now is all major emitters to play their part. And of course I refer to the G20 group of nations which is going to be absolutely key to our 1.5oC future,’ Sharma said. ‘Yet only 13 of the G20 have committed to net-zero and only eight have submitted new NDCs that are more ambitious than their previous ones. This really must change before COP26 in November,’ Sharma stressed.
Commenting on the NDCs, UNEP said; ‘An initial synthesis of submitted new or updated NDCs early in 2021 showed that collective efforts fall far short of what is required by science to limit global temperatures increases by the end of the century to 2oC let alone the desired objective of less than1.5oC.’
In its appraisal of the IPCC report, the World Economic Forum, said: ‘The COP 26 Summit will be unprecedented in bringing business leaders into the global effort on climate change, and public private collaboration to achieving these dual goals of mitigating carbon emissions to keep 1.5oC alive and supporting all communities to adapt to, and be resilient to, climate change.’
The chemistry using sector has been developing solutions and alternatives for its key petrochemical-based feedstocks for several years now. Many businesses have progressed into implementing carbon capture and storage technologies. During July Ineos and Petroineos announced that they would work with Acorn CCS Project to develop Scotland’s first carbon capture and storage system, which is scheduled to become operation during 2027.
Numerous developments are leading to improved battery technology that will power the growing fleet of electric vehicles becoming available to consumers. The array of polymers based on sustainable feedstock is growing, and these polymers are finding applications in areas from packaging to clothing.
The agricultural sector has developed initiatives to reduce its impact on the environment. Syngenta has launched its so called ‘Good Growth Plan’ which the company says; ‘Puts the urgent fight against climate change and biodiversity loss at the heart of farming’s productive future and is a step change towards regenerative agriculture.’ Digitisation is also finding its place in the agricultural sector.
These initiatives, to mention just a few, are going some way to reducing the impact that human activity has on the planet. Climate change is not just about rising temperatures. It is about weather patterns, biodiversity, food production and health. Putting any of these in jeopardy, as has clearly been shown, does not discriminate between rich and poor nations. The IPCC analysis is sobering indeed. But that is all the more reason for Governments, businesses and civil society to embrace opportunity.