If you’re dipping your toe in the water of understanding climate change, knowing the foundational talking points around climate action is one of the first steps to making a positive difference.
With some of the most important climate-focused events like COP27 and The Impact X Summit right around the corner, we prepared a brief overview of the climate change fundamentals so you can engage in the climate conversation and become a part of the community building a sustainable future.
In this overview, we’ll cover:
What is a net zero, nature-positive future?
Where do emissions come from and where do they go?
What is our objective between now and 2050?
How are we going to reach these objectives?
What is a net zero, nature-positive future?
Most of the conversation around climate change pinpoints ‘Net Zero’ as the target. While net zero is a target, it’s not the only one.
First, let’s recap what Net Zero means. Net Zero does not mean there will be zero emissions produced. Net Zero means we are absorbing and sequestering greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at the same rate as we are emitting them. It’s a neutral state that we must first reach to stop the increasing global average temperature.
What comes after we reach the Net Zero target is what’s called a nature-positive future. This is a world where natural ecosystems and resources are regenerating, rather than declining. Building this nature-positive world is not just up to us as individuals; it’s a problem on the minds of business leaders, governments, and industry bodies worldwide.
At the opening discussion of the Impact X Summit, you can hear the insights of these leaders as leaders and executives from Unilever, the Business Council of Australia, the Investor Group on Climate Change, and the National AI Centre discuss the leadership required for a net zero, nature-positive future.
Where do our emissions come from? Where do they go?
According to the IPCC, there are 6 key sources contributing to the production of emissions. These are electricity production, food, agriculture & land use, industry, transportation, buildings, other energy-related emissions.
All emissions are gases released into the atmosphere from these activities. Not all of these gases are harmful, but the most harmful and prevalent ones like carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for between 300 and 1,000 years. While in the atmosphere, these gases contribute to the overall global temperature rising with vast follow-on impacts including higher frequencies of droughts, heatwaves, extreme rainfall, loss of marine biodiversity, rising sea levels that threaten low-lying settlements, impacted food supply chains, and decreased water availability; to name a few.
To sequester and absorb these emissions, we rely on carbon sinks. Carbon sinks exist naturally and are being replicated and restored by humans to pull emissions out of the atmosphere, lowering the risk of the effects noted above. Large natural resources like oceans and forests are our most common carbon sinks, though recent reports indicate increased deforestation and wildfires is causing some forests to produce more carbon than they absorb. In the search for carbon sink solutions, scientists are discovering the high carbon sequestration rates of certain plant species such as mangroves and seagrass.
Developing greater technologies for reducing emissions and encouraging regeneration is a focal point of many climate targets and climate technologies. On Day 2 of the Impact X Summit, we’ll be diving into how these technologies can be scalably produced and adopted with insights from leaders at New Energy Nexus, Australian Financial Review, EnergyLab, Cicada Innovations, and our very own Creel Price, co-founder of Investible.
What is our objective between now and 2050?
On the 1 of December 2015, 196 countries entered into the Paris Agreement, a legally binding treaty, at COP21. The goal of the Paris Agreement was to keep global temperatures at or below 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels (temperatures during the years 1850-1900).
Reaching this goal required a 45% emission reduction by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050, globally. Currently, we aren’t on track to see this happen. At COP26 last year, the Glasgow Climate Pact was forged to keep the 1.5-degree goal alive, asking nations to review and amend their targets and strategies for lowering emissions.
Heading into COP27 this year, we can expect to see greater commitments from the nations present and more discussion on implementation plans. We’ll be watching COP27 this year live from The Impact X Summit in Sydney, Australia’s must-attend Climate Conference. On and 1 of November, The Impact X Summit will be home to world-class investors, startups, advisors, and industry leaders, all with a focus on collaboration and unification in solving humanity’s largest problem: climate change.
As mentioned above, reaching Net Zero will involve finding sustainable alternatives to large carbon emitters, as well as protecting current carbon sinks and cultivating more opportunities for carbon sequestration around the world.
One of the primary ways we will achieve this is by promoting and adopting innovative technologies that can change how we live, eat, work, and move. For decades, our way of life has been supported by systems and infrastructure that are harmful to the environment. Innovative technologies can replace unsustainable mechanisms with eco-friendly alternatives (e.g: electric cars instead of petrol cars) and evolve the infrastructures that underpin modern ways of living (e.g: renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels).
Whereas the solutions required to reach Net Zero aim to mitigate the effects of climate change, we must also build solutions that enable us to adapt to a world with a changing climate. Technologies that, for instance, can help protect areas at risk of being underwater if water levels continue to rise or can create better delivery methods of water and supplies for locales that may be impacted by shortages and crop failure.
The Investible Climate Tech Fund sees companies rapidly working to create these solutions every day. As of this article’s publish date, we’ve reviewed over 1,900 opportunities globally, and are actively reviewing more each day.
If you’re looking to invest in one of the fastest-growing industries, we’d love to talk to you.
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