New IPCC Report Makes 2030 The Focus For Net Zero Emissions Targets
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today released a new report on the implications of climate change based on the consensus views of 234 scientists reflecting 14,000 scientific references. The key finding of the new IPCC Working Group 1 report on physical climate science is that earth’s average surface temperature is projected to be 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels in 2040 under all climate change scenarios. In addition, the new IPCC report flags the risks posed by a host of unpredictable changes in rainfall patterns, marine heatwaves, intense drought, melting glaciers, ocean currents and sea levels. The IPCC report notes that ‘climate change is already affecting every inhabited region across the globe’ through more extreme heat, heavier precipitation and ecological drought.
What does this IPCC report mean for business leaders? A strategy of delay is no longer realistic because the deadline for has been brought forward by a whopping 10 years. Fuzzy net zero emissions commitments set for 2040 or 2050 will soon be out of the question without meaningful 2030 interim targets. To put this in context, a forthcoming Verdantix assessment of FTSE 100 net zero emissions targets found that only 16% of firms had a 2030 or earlier net zero emissions target, 29% had not published a net zero emissions goal and only 35% of FTSE 100 firms have achieved certification of their plans by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Across all jurisdictions, firms should expect earlier start dates for mandatory climate reporting based on the guidance of the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). This IPCC report will also relaunch the policy debate on carbon taxes and impactful GHG cap-and-trade market mechanisms.
By communicating an expert opinion that ‘climate change [is] widespread, rapid, and intensifying’ the IPCC will also accelerate market opportunities for climate tech providers. Before investing in costly decarbonization strategies there is significant scope for firms to accelerate their net zero initiatives with digital climate change solutions. Our benchmark of 44 sustainability software solutions for the corporate market identified 34 software providers with capabilities to improve operational performance on energy and carbon management. Innovative vendors with a strong proposition in this space include ClearTrace, Envizi, Measurabl, Persefoni, Quentic, Schneider Electric and SINAI Technologies. Executives should also be aware that investors are bulking up their ability to monitor and assess issuers’ climate risks and carbon management capabilities. The Verdantix study of 45 climate and ESG financial solution providers, identified Bluefield, Four Twenty Seven, Jupiter Intelligence and The Climate Service as credible suppliers of financial insights on climate change risk quantification.