IPCC report says time to act is now—here’s what your company can do

August 12, 2021
Article

We recommend this three-pronged approach.

What does the IPCC report mean for your company?

If you’ve paid attention to climate-related news this week, then you’ve heard about the most recent IPCC report. What it spells out is bleak but should come as no surprise: without a doubt, humans have caused global warming.

TAKEAWAYS FROM THE IPCC REPORT

The Guardian sums it up perfectly: “Hundreds of climate scientists, thousands of research studies, eight years of work—building on more than three decades of research before that—have been boiled down in the past fortnight to a single message: we are running out of time.” It’s worth noting that the report also receives sign-off from 195 countries.
• Scientists cite evidence that human-induced climate change already affects weather and climate extremes across the globe, not just in certain areas.
• Global warming will exceed 1.5–2°C during the 21st century unless we drastically reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions in the next couple of decades.
• Limiting human-caused global warming necessitates a limit to our cumulative CO2 emissions. We have to achieve at least net-zero CO2 emissions, in addition to steep reductions in other GHG emissions.
• Companies have to do their part. We recommend a three-pronged approach: prevent, mitigate, and adapt.

Personally, or professionally, if you take one thing away from the IPCC report it should be this: the time to act is now.  

Companies and organizations—both big and small—must take action if we are going to avoid more irrevocable damage to our climate.  

So what can you do? We recommend a three-pronged approach: prevent, mitigate, and adapt.

1. Prevent CO2 and GHG emissions in the first place

“Climate crisis ‘unequivocally’ caused by human activities” —The Guardian

Prevention, without a doubt, should be everyone’s top priority because this decade is our last chance to limit the effects of climate change. It requires massive measures like a complete transition away from fossil fuels toward more sustainable business models.    

Has your company explored ways to switch to renewable energy like solar and wind? How about how switching from cars that run on gas to electric-powered vehicles? And if those feel too far out of reach, how about cutting out air travel?  

PRO TIP: Sustain.Life offers step-by-step guidance to programmatically reduce your corporate air travel.

2. Mitigate climate change

“It’s Grim” —The Atlantic

Next on your priority list should be helping to mitigate the severity of climate change. There’s a number of ways to do this but think of retrofitting buildings to make them more energy-efficient. Or, bigger picture, it means designing more sustainable cities and public transit expansion and optimization.  

Ask yourself: What behavioral changes or projects could your company take on to help mitigate climate change?

3. Adapt to the current reality

“A Hotter Future Is Certain” —The New York Times

Because climate-related events have become more frequent, severe, and costly, the sad reality is that we have to adapt. In 2020, a record 22 climate-related events in the U.S. each caused more than $1 billion in damage. While prevention and mitigation should be your top concern, the IPCC’s report also signals that you should consider measures to adapt to the changing climate.  

Reactive measures, like moving away from shorelines, developing more heat-resistant crops, increasing the size of disaster response teams, or creating defensible spaces around buildings in case of wildfires should be considerations, depending on your location.  

If your company hasn’t yet taken steps to adapt to extreme heat, water scarcity, storm surges, and wildfires, Sustain.Life can help. Our platform includes step-by-step guidance to help you adapt to climate risks. Sign up for a free trial below.

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Author:
Sustain.Life Team
Tags:
Climate change
Climate risk
Sustainability
Key takeaways

1. Prevent CO2 and GHG emissions in the first place

2. Mitigate climate change

3. Adapt to the current reality