Each year, April 22nd marks Earth Day to recognise the significance of positive environmental impact and the economic and political intervention required to provoke necessary change.
The day unites over one billion people in more than 190 countries, encouraging businesses and consumers alike to participate in non-profit activities, such as beach clean-ups, to inspire positive change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) most recent report stated that the planet is still warming at an alarming rate, meaning humanity is still off-track when it comes to redressing the impacts of climate change.
The IPCC has warned that the Earth’s temperature will continue to increase and is expected to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2035. Earth Day is thus been deployed as a preventative measure, to raise awareness and prevent the earth’s temperature from surpassing this limit.
Consequently, greenhouse gases and CO2 emissions must be reduced by at least 43% by 2030 and 60% by 2035, compared to 2019 levels.
The IPCC shared three key ways in which businesses can scale up their climate solutions.
Prioritise renewable energy
To reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, there needs to be a significant decrease in the use of fossil fuels.
It’s also important to diversify energy systems and invest in renewable energy technology to achieve this goal, according to the IPCC.
Among renewable energy sources, wind and solar energy are deemed the most cost-effective and impactful solutions to address climate change.
Additionally, carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) will be necessary to contain CO2 emissions from any remaining fossil fuel usage.
Preserving forests and other natural ecosystems is crucial to mitigating global warming as nature provides some of the most effective carbon sinks.
The first step is to ensure sustainable forest management to conserve existing forests. Additionally, efforts such as reforestation – planting new trees in areas where the number of trees has decreased – and creating new woodlands (afforestation) are essential.
The IPCC suggests that reducing deforestation in tropical regions has the highest total mitigation potential, however, protecting other areas such as the polar regions, mountains and coastal ecosystems is equally important.
Changing human behaviour
To effectively address the climate crisis, it is crucial to encourage behavioural changes, particularly in reducing demand. This can include improving the energy efficiency of homes and businesses, adopting more sustainable diets, and reducing food waste and loss.
Without these changes, it will not be possible to halt or reverse the damaging effects of climate change. It is therefore crucial that businesses lead by example to set and achieve sustainable goals.