Meeting the Paris Agreement requires carbon negative solutions
To meet the Paris Agreement objective of limiting global mean temperature rise to 1.5°C pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, emissions must be radically reduced. This is important to sustain a globally habitable climate and prevent extreme weather conditions, from droughts and heatwaves to floods and wildfires.
However, just becoming carbon neutral is not enough. To stick to the 1.5°C target decarbonization must occur, turning the global economy carbon negative in the years to come. This will ensure no more emissions are being added to the atmosphere and that the total amount of greenhouse gasses (GHG) that have been release do not lead to a further temperature increase above the 1.5°C mark.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on global warming highlights different pathways that can lead to reaching the Paris Agreement. Almost every pathway outlined requires the global economy to become carbon negative in the years beyond 2050.
In pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C global CO2 emissions are reduced to net-zero around 2050 and then must be net-negative – removing more carbon than is emitted annually – for the remainder of the century!
The lack of a circular economy leads to an overuse of resources
The overuse of resources significantly contributes to global climate change impact. Converting the global economy to one that is circular is needed to prevent bio-diversity loss, water stress, and reduce the stress business practices put on natural resources and the climate. Moreover, this unsustainable economy is a constant driver of emissions which to stop global warming will need to be reduced.
Similar to the global challenge we face, an overuse of resources and a lack of a circular economy already impacts less developed nations dramatically. An overconsumption of resources in developed countries leads can lead to scarcity in less developed countries that need more resources at their disposal for development and wealth creation which can help alleviate poverty, provide renewable energy infrastructure, and improve water quality and security.
Furthermore, not every country has sustainable waste management practices or facilities. If these countries are not given the time and resources to establish such practices more damage will be caused to ecosystems and inequality will remain widened.
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) when taking climate action
While it is paramount to take climate action that should not come at the cost of social equality and our standards of living. Development must be guided by a compass of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) when pursuing climate action. This will ensure investments outweigh economic, social, and environmental factors. Hence, inclusive business practices must be met by ensuring local communities in and surrounding natural capital investment projects are central to planning and benefit sharing.