The latest International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports are out, and the message is unequivocal: it's time for business leaders and organizations to urgently take climate action. The IPCC has found that climate change is having a worse impact on our world than was previously assumed, and we are running out of time to act.
In February 2022, the IPCC finalized the second part in
a series of climate change reports called the Sixth Assessment. The report focused on climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. The February report was followed by the third part of the sixth assessment cycle, released in April 2022, which focuses on climate change mitigation actions.
What is clear in both reports, and supported by significant science, is that climate change has had a much worse impact than previously thought. Most condemning is the third part’s conclusion that the 1.5-degree Celsius warming threshold is almost out of reach, making action more urgent than it ever has been.
From melting ice caps to habitat destruction, both on land and in sea, experts are observing impacts beyond earlier predictions. These impacts pose a critical and potentially existential threat to organizations, who must adapt or face extinction. Yet, change at the massive scale necessary to avert the worst of these impacts has been slow in coming. More organizations than ever are taking action, but we must all collectively accelerate.
While these latest reports present a bleak outlook for the future, it’s important to underscore that the authors insist there is still time to prevent the most devastating impacts on the most vulnerable communities and environments. But action must be dramatic and swift. We are well beyond the time of half-measures and we need all organizations and all solutions to work together to transform our energy and economic systems to be climate resilient.
As we shared in our update video following the inaugural Sixth Assessment report, the path forward is clear. The urgency with which all organizations must decarbonize their operations and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels cannot be overstated. There is – quite literally – not a minute to be wasted.
The reports also point out what we’ve known for some time: that the solutions are already available. Transitioning away from fossil fuels to renewable electricity, cleaner and electrified transportation, and greener buildings holds the key to our future. Now is not the time to speculate about emerging technologies, but to commit fully to investing in the sustainable solutions we already know can work.
At Schneider Electric, we remain optimistic that organizations can and will step up to be the change that the world needs. We’ve seen businesses lead on sustainability, on a voluntary basis, time and time again. And they’re increasingly doing so because they see the risks of inaction and understand the consequences if we don’t all do what needs to be done.
The first Sixth Assessment report came just before COP26, at a time when we were expectant that governments would agree to step up necessary commitments. While progress was made in Glasgow, it went neither far enough nor fast enough. Now, on the other side of that event, we know that organizations cannot wait for policy change to act. (And, make no mistake, policy changes are coming, too).
We’ve seen amazing and impactful climate commitments and actions in the last several years. We have no doubt that organizations will continue to innovate and implement climate change solutions – but will it be in time? At Schneider Electric, we work with organizations every day to help them decarbonize and take climate action. Now is the moment to act; contact us today to take the next step to accelerate your own decarbonization journey.