The highly anticipated COP26 is around the corner in Glasgow. Funded with nearly $1m, from sources including the Scottish government and the European Climate Foundation, the assembly is supported by the UN and UK and run by a coalition of more than 100 organisations.
It’ll probably be fate defining juncture in our history given the dire IPCC report, which laid down 7 key findings:
- The 1.5 Degrees Celsius temperature increase by midcentury is no longer a realistic time horizon. The Earth’s average surface temperature is projected to hit 1.5 or 1.6 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels around 2030 in all five of the greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.
- Natural world allies / life support systems are weakening. Since about 1960, forests, soil and oceans have absorbed 56 percent of all CO2 humanity has pumped into the atmosphere.
- Climate change is to blame; definitively. The report highlights the stunning progress in a nescient field, attribution science, in quantifying the extent to which human-induced global heating increases the intensity and/or likelihood of a specific extreme weather event such as a heatwave, a hurricane or a wildfire.
- Sea is rising faster than expected. Because of uncertainty over ice sheets, scientists cannot rule out a total rise of two meters by 2100 in a worst-case emissions scenario.
- Methane has taken the center stage. The report includes more data than ever before on methane (CH4), the second most important greenhouse gas after CO2, and warns that failure to reduce its emissions could undermine Paris Agreement goals.
- A focus on regional differences. Average temperature and sea level increases will differ.
- Tipping point events, or as Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls them, fat tail type two randomness, there are “low likelihood, high impact” shifts in the climate system that, when irreversible, will cause tipping points with catalytic ripple effects.
As Buckminster Fuller said it perfectly, our understanding and actions towards the problem have to be ‘macro comprehensive and micro incisive’. In other words, we have to think top down (policy) and bottom up as consumers and founders of companies looking to tackle climate change.