In 2015, nations around the world sent a strong message by signing the Paris Agreement at COP21. And yet the battle against climate change is far from over. The signatory countries have not yet committed to concrete measures. Enumerating them is a goal of COP24, taking place December 3-14 in Katowice, Poland.
Despite these steps, it would be a mistake to think that governments alone will be able to stem global warming. The latest report by scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is absolutely clear: to limit our impact on the climate, we must all commit to “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.
For companies, setting out to achieve these goals has become a moral duty requiring swift action. It is also a great opportunity for them to rethink their business models and place in society. In the United States, many in the private sector understand the stakes and are stepping up to lead the climate battle after the US administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The commitment of former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who promotes low-carbon financial innovation in the Wall Street capital markets, is just one example.
In recent years, companies around the world have combined profit-making with respect for the environment. Some are supported by local governments, while others are struggling against all odds. But they must go even further. They must become the spearhead of the ecological big bang, accelerating and scaling up concrete solutions to bend the curve of greenhouse gas emissions.
To limit the devastating consequences of climate change and ensure sustainable living conditions for the planet’s different species – including human beings – we must reduce our CO2 emissions from 2010 levels by 45% ahead of 2030, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. In other words, every gram of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere will have to be offset by environmentally friendly practices. The mission is not impossible, according to the IPCC scientists. Some of the measures necessary for us to stay below a 1.5°C increase are already underway, but it is vital to scale up and accelerate their implementation.
Amplifying the impact of already effective technological solutions is a first step. But companies have yet another challenge – to create value and jobs without overconsumption. As the World Bank points out, a green technology future that improperly manages natural resources, especially rare metals, could be at odds with Sustainable Development Goals.
That is why African Business joins Sparknews and 19 other major business newspapers around the world on December 3, during COP24, for the media project Solutions&Co, exploring solutions that reconcile ecology and economy. Replicating these solutions on a large scale can help us meet the goals that scientists have set in order to limit the impacts of climate change. You – readers, citizens, leaders, investors, consumers – can help to spread and magnify the effects of these solutions, so that tomorrow’s economy becomes a truly sustainable one.
Christian de Boisredon (Founder of Sparknews & Ashoka Fellow), Mathilde Imer (Project Manager Solutions&Co) and the Sparknews team