Earth Day & Emissions: Net Zero Needed by 2050 to Limit Global Warming

Emissions must be dramatically reduced within this decade and decline to net zero by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

If you follow this blog, you’ve heard us mention our support of efforts to eliminate death on the job by 2050. These efforts are part of the Work to Zero initiative from the National Safety Council. Funded by the McElhattan FoundationWork to Zero is making innovation more accessible by helping employers explore the value of safety technology and how to determine an organization’s readiness for adopting new technology solutions.

But eliminating death on the job isn’t the only “zero” we’re thinking about. On April 5, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the third part of its Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. The other parts of the report is AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2022 and AR6 Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. The IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.

Lastest Climate Change Report: Some Better News

In the latest report, the IPCC emphasized emissions must be dramatically reduced within this decade and decline to net zero by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The report wasn’t all bad news; there is increasing evidence of climate action, according to the authors of the report.

When the Sixth Assessment Report was published in February 2022, Kathleen Rogers, president of EARTHDAY.ORG, noted that a “dire and drastic transformation” was needed, adding: “We are moving much too slowly.”

Since 2010, there have been sustained decreases of up to 85% in the costs of solar and wind energy and batteries. An increasing range of policies and laws have enhanced energy efficiency, reduced rates of deforestation and accelerated the deployment of renewable energy, the authors noted.

“We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future,” said IPPC Chair Hoesung Lee. “We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming. I am encouraged by climate action being taken in many countries. There are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving effective. If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation.”

As we celebrate Earth Day on April 22, Rogers notes, “If we are to make the Paris Agreement mean anything at all then we must work together. This means everyone from individuals, businesses, governments and other parts of civil society have to commit to a transformative shift in the global economy as we know it.” 

Invest in the Planet – Invest in Ourselves

It’s not surprising, then, that the theme for Earth Day 2022 is “Invest in our Planet.” Investors increasingly are aware of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), the three central factors used to measure the sustainability and societal impact of a company. In other words, it is an approach that allows organizations to measure their contributions to sustainability and ethical practices in a way that provides transparency to the market, financial benefits to the organization and benchmarking for industry. Investors are using the data found in various ESG reporting frameworks to determine what companies they want to support.

Some studies show that the companies with strong ESG performance are more likely to provide strong financial returns and reduce risk. Thus, ESG invites special attention from the investor and financial community. In addition, customers, employees and suppliers/partners are becoming increasingly diligent about associating with the companies creating positive impact for the environment and society. 

“This is the biggest change since the Industrial Revolution and sliced bread,” notes Rogers. “…Now is the time to truly see our potential to change history. Change has never been easy, but it takes just a committed effort from a few to create the tipping point necessary. The solutions are out there and we know what must be done, whether it’s transitioning to renewable energy, conserving our forests and lands or ridding ourselves of the scourge of plastic pollution.” 

Learn how youth advocates are taking on the challenge of reducing and eliminating plastic pollution.

Learn how you can invest in our planet.

Discover how Intelex and Datamaran are helping organizations take a more rigorous approach to ESG data collection and ESG strategy, including through data-driven materiality risk management and board oversight.

This entry was posted in Environmental & Sustainability Management and tagged , , , by Sandy Smith. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the Global EHSQ Content Lead for Intelex Technologies. Formerly the Content Director for EHS Today, she has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. Her work as a journalist and editor has been recognized with national and international awards. She has been interviewed about occupational safety and health for national business publications, documentaries and television programs; has served as a panelist on roundtables; and has provided the keynote address for occupational safety and health conferences.

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