Global warming and resulting climate change is attributed to an increase in greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. Although debate still rages as to the causes of this increase in greenhouse gas, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has stated a greater than 90% probability that the increases are anthropogenic, directly related to human kind’s exploitation and burning of historic fossil fuels.
The simple facts state that we are producing more greenhouse gases than the planet can naturally sequestrate through plant materials, the oceans and sedimentary rocks. The world’s economies produce 9.9 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum, of which only 5.3 billion tonnes are naturally removed by the planet. This has resulted in increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere of approximately 385 ppm (parts per million) against pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm. The scientific consensus requires an 80% reduction on current levels to stabilise emissions at 450 ppm by 2050. It is hoped that this will limit average global temperature increase by 2 degrees, however the secondary impacts of global warming continue to accelerate warming more rapidly than science has predicted, and we now run the risk of moving into runaway and rampant climate change if emissions are not curbed significantly.
The sheer scale of the challenge to curb further temperature increase requires aggressive and immediate action from all groups of society and in the context of business, the value of embracing a sustainable strategy is immense and imperative.