April 8, 2022 - ESG and Climate News
How F^&*ed are we?
This week began with another report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This was their third installment of the sixth assessment report - and, yes, it can be confusing to keep up with the cadence of these reports. A meme floating around social media all week boiled it down this way:
IPCC 1 - what f^&*ed it?
IPCC 2 - exactly how f^&*ed is it?
IPCC 3 - how do we unf^&*k it?
On a more serious note, the report is a damning assessment of how global mitigation pledges fall short of the progress required to avoid the worst effects of climate change. UN Secretary General António Guterres called the report “a litany of broken climate promises” saying that “some government & business leaders are saying one thing, but doing another. Simply put, they are lying.”
Backing up his greenwash rhetoric, Guterres announced an expert group to help organizations “walk the talk” by creating better standardization around net-zero goals and speeding up implementation.
The heat is on
The report concluded that current policies put the world on track for warming within a range of 2.3C to just above 4C by 2100, with the consensus at 3C. If countries meet their current nationally determined contributions (NDCs) for 2030 under the Paris Agreement it would shave a few tenths of a degree off future warming – but a large gap remains between 2030 commitments and the magnitude of emissions reductions needed to put the world on track for below 2C or 1.5C warming by 2100.
The good news is this report tells us how we can get out of this mess. Nearly all scenarios that limit warming below 2C rely on some degree of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technology to accelerate the pace of emissions reductions, to offset residual emissions, and to provide the option for net negative CO2 emissions in case global temperatures need to be brought back down.
Climate concerns overshadowed
Highlighting the harsh global situation, on the same day as the IPCC release, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, released an open letter calling for an “immediate approval for additional oil leases and gas pipelines.” With soaring fuel prices adding to pandemic-fueled inflation and the ongoing war in Ukraine, there is an increasingly unstable political environment that has pushed climate concerns down the list of priorities.
Similar to what happened with the COP26 final report, the IPCC wording was changed at the last minute and a section of the report critical of the oil and gas industry’s ‘climate blocking activities’ was cut from the final draft. Reportedly, Saudi officials and big oil companies pushed the watered down language about fossil fuels.
Missed last week's ESG & Climate News? Check it out now and stay in the know: April 1, 2022.
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