What do we mean by this? We explain our key takeaway’s below.
1. We are not doing enough to reduce our GHG”s to limit runaway Global Warming.
This is our first and arguably the most important takeaway from the IPCC report. According to the report, total anthropogenic GHGs have continued to rise since 2010. While GHG totals are not rising at the same rate as the decade before, we are not reducing our GHGs enough to curb runaway global warming and thus, long-term climate change. While we generally knew this to be the case through our work with ocean and climate scientists, the IPCC report confirms our experience.
2. While technology advances will help reduce emissions, increased consumption may negatively offset the gains that technology and digitalization have gained.
We know that technological advances help conserve our natural resources. However, consumption is outstripping the ability of those advances to affect the total amount of GHGs produced. Only by reducing total consumption can we start to affect climate change. It is important to note that this isn’t the case across all countries and communities. The developed nations, especially the US, are consuming far beyond the world average. In many communities, specifically, developing nations, consumption should increase to be more sustainable. In those regions, it would be more beneficial for the planet to consume more to ensure healthy and prosperous communities and to foster more sustainable land and ocean use.
3. To limit the effects of climate change, we need to reduce emissions from carbon-based fuel sources and work toward technologies that make us more efficient.
This goes without saying. Scientists have known for a long time that reducing dependencies on carbon-based fuel sources for energy is the key to reducing emissions that cause GHGs. According to the IPCC report, we must do more. Developing and investing in solar, wind, wave, and other non-carbon-based fuel sources at the enterprise level is the only way to curb the runaway global warming. Becoming more efficient is no longer a nice-to-have or solely a cost-reduction endeavor. Governments, companies, and individuals must all do their part in reducing these dependencies.
4. Net-zero emissions from industry are possible but challenging. Industry must take action on their own because regulations are not equally distributed across sectors.
Due to governmental and regulatory differences across countries and regions, not all environmental regulations will adequately reduce the total GHG emissions. There must be an industry-level push to reduce emissions regardless of the regulatory requirements in that particular region and industry. Critics may push back on this, stating that it isn’t competitive and that those companies who do take action will be at a competitive disadvantage. We believe, based on the IPCC report, that companies, especially those in the developed nations, must do their part since they also happen to be the largest contributors to the climate change problem. We also believe that sustainability is a competitive advantage and those companies and industries that do seriously decrease their carbon footprint, will reap rewards long into the future.
5. In addition to learning to cut emissions, we have to learn to do more with less.
This means making what we have last longer. It means thinking more long-term with respect to goods and services. This goes for everything from operational efficiencies to designing for sustainability. We must start at a position of product life-cycle thinking with everything that we do. From food to services to transportation and community services, designing with a balanced focus on people, economics and the environment will not only help save our planet but also open up more creative thinking for the future. We must shift from the throwaway culture we have had for thousands of years to one of continuously renewing actions.
6. Learn to consume less, unless it is more sustainable to consume more.
While most of us in North America need to consume fewer fossil fuels on a per capita basis, this is not necessarily true for the rest of the world. For some regions and socioeconomic groups, increasing consumption is more sustainable. For people living with limited or no access to clean water, electricity, educational opportunities, and adequate healthcare, increased consumption would help climate change and overall global sustainability.
7. Climate change of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius will cause unavoidable risks to the planet including humans and ecosystems.
If the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold is reached or superseded, the effects of climate change such as increased severity and duration of extreme weather events will negatively affect our cities, agriculture, biodiversity, and oceans, to name a few. At HyperKelp, we are keenly interested in the effects that climate change has with respect to oceans and climates. According to the IPCC report, near-term warming will be extremely detrimental to marine ecosystems including kelp and seagrass forests, warm water coral reefs, and Arctic ice environments. The hopeful news is if we manage to keep climate change at or below that threshold, we can limit biodiversity loss in terrestrial, coastal, freshwater, and marine environments.
8. Carbon sequestration technologies must be more developed and implemented to help alleviate climate change.
New techniques and technologies involving CO2 sequestration can help alleviate climate change and its effects. One of the ways that this can be achieved is through ocean fertilization, which may lead to nutrient redistribution and a drawdown of atmospheric CO2. Adequately studying the effects of CO2 sequestration is imperative to understand all of its effects. At HyperKelp, we are passionate about the ocean and its changes. If you or your organization are interested in measuring ocean-related changes, give us a call.
9. Sustainability is inversely proportional to environmental vulnerability and climate risk.
Now the good news! If we actively work to restore the damage to our environment, we can help reduce climate change and its effects on our planet. Rebuilding mangroves and coastal wetlands will reduce the risks of sea-level rise and storm events. By investing in terrestrial and oceanic remediation projects, we will be able to leverage the natural and complex climate-mitigating effects that the natural world naturally has.
10. The more climate change mitigation strategies we implement now, the more will become available in the future.
But wait! There’s more good news! If we start to implement climate change mitigation strategies now, it will open opportunities for more effective and farther-reaching strategies in the future. In addition, the cost of implementation now is much lower than it will be in the future. The more commitment and follow-through that governments, policymakers, global cooperative organizations, and industry have now, the easier and more effective climate change mitigation actions will be.
Obviously, the report had much more detailed information and there is a lot more to glean by reading it in its entirety. However, we do hope you were able to take something away from our perspective and how the IPCC report impacts our oceans and our world. The IPCC report can be found at IPCC Sixth Assessment Report: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.
At HyperKelp, our Oceanographers are passionate about what happens in, over, and above the waves. We work with Climate Scientists to collect real-time ocean and freshwater data anywhere in the world to enable real understanding and change. If you would like to contact us to discuss your ocean data needs, connect with us at email@example.com.
By: Rachael Hopkins
Published: May 25, 2022