The race against global warming continues and its starting to open an interesting path for startups that wants to help companies decrease their carbon emissions as a way to decrease our impact in the planet that has been warming up progressively in comparison with pre industrial times.
This trend is also being adapted to individuals that wish to help into decreasing those levels and they make small changes in their daily routine to reduce the uses of plastic and become more sustainable friendly, but the hard truth is that if companies don’t work into decreasing their emissions, the impact will not decrease at the rate that is needed and consequences can be catastrophic.
Now, startups offering services that can help mitigate the impact of carbon emissions are becoming a trend and a really good one for our planet. For example, we can talk about Cloverly, a startup launched internally by the massive southeastern utility, Southern Company; Patch, which was launched by two alums from the apartment management and short-term rental service, Sonder; Cooler.dev and now Pachama, which operates its own international offset marketplace focusing on reforestation and forest management.
What matters from this trend is that there is no time for planning, we need to start taking matters into our own actions before it’s too late and so has been said by the United Nations Climate Change and their efforts towards net zero emission plans and the popular Paris Agreement.
What is the Paris Agreement?
The Paris Agreement was the way that the UN found to unify all the efforts towards one collective goal: the net zero emissions. Countries that are part of this agreement don’t only agree with the goal, but they also have to show how are they going to achieve it.
According to the website of the United Nations Climate Change, “the Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016.”
The primary objective of this agreement is to limit global warming to 1.5º C, as a way to not increase the damage that it is already done to our planet. Now, this sounds like a huge goal and it is in fact one that its going to take us a lot of effort and a lot of time.
It is expected that companies reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century. That’s right, we are talking about a goal for 2050 and even though it appears to be a long time, in terms of changes to make industries achieve these levels it is not really that much time.
COVID-19 consequences around the world
The virus that stopped the world a year ago showed some positive consequences in terms of global warming. According to Carbon Brief, the lockdown caused by this virus marked a “record fall” in terms of global carbon dioxide emissions and showed a decreased in the emissions that was never seen before. The problem appears to be that this was momentary and not created by specific changes that can be sustainable over time.
Nature explains that “after rising steadily for decades, global carbon dioxide emissions fell by 6.4%, or 2.3 billion tones, in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic squelched economic and social activities worldwide, according to new data on daily fossil fuel emissions”
This is where new start ups that help maintain this trend can provide a huge benefit to the planet and the 2050 collective goal.
These startups prove a very important point. They show that “investors and utilities are willing to take a flyer on companies that are trying to enable carbon offsets for consumers and corporations alike.”, as explained by Tech Crunch.
Why does it matter?
Global warming is way more dangerous that it sounds. Comparing to pre-industrial times, the earth is getting warmer and the consequences of not stopping this trend can end up in natural disasters at a huge magnitude.
To show a bit more how big the problem is, the United Nations explains that “2010-2019 is the warmest decade on record. On the current path of carbon dioxide emissions, the global temperature is expected to increase by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by the end of century.”
Now, how do we stop this from increasing? Well, measurements need to be taken from the biggest carbon emission industries and that is the part that we are failing. The UN reports that “to avoid the worst of warming (maximum 1.5°C rise), the world will need to decrease fossil fuel production by roughly 6 per cent per year between 2020 and 2030. Countries are instead planning and projecting an average annual increase of 2 per cent.”
It is important to identify the industries that needs to do more work in decreasing their greenhouse emissions because that will help us focus solutions by sectors. Our World in Data shows that the greenhouse emissions are coming from these sectors specifically: Energy (electricity, heat and transport): 73.2%, Direct Industrial Processes: 5.2%, Waste: 3.2%, Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use: 18.4%.
The information is out there, now is our job to do something about it while we can. We hope that more and more startups find ways to reach the goal from the Paris Agreement, a goal that is completely realistic!
The UN sees the pandemic as a window that needs to be taken. They explain that “the COVID-19 pandemic recovery could be an important and positive turning point. When economic stimulus packages kick in, there will be a genuine opportunity to promote renewable energy investments, smart buildings, green and public transport, and a whole range of other interventions that will help to slow climate change.”
As you can see, we need to take this matter into our own hands, as explained by Alessandro Bazzoni. The change needs to happen and startups can be a huge help for it.