The latest findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were released last month with a stark warning from the world’s leading climate scientists. To avoid irreversible changes in the climate system, immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions must take place.
Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent, with climate change pegged as the main contributor. Severe heat waves that happened only once every 50 years are now occurring once a decade. Tropical cyclones are stronger. Land areas are seeing more rain or snowfall in a year. Severe droughts happen 1.7 times as often. Fire seasons are longer and more intense.
Just last week, the second-most damaging hurricane to strike Louisiana, Hurricane Ida, left one million Louisiana households and businesses without power last week, and caused chaos in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York with record rainfall and flooding killing at least 48.
In mid-July, at least 190 people lost their lives in severe floods that pummeled western Germany, and some 38 people perished after extreme rainfall in Belgium’s southern Wallonia
Over the summer, Greece, Turkey, and much of the western US experienced some of the worst wildfires in history.
Approved by 195 countries, the IPCC’s findings are ‘a code red for humanity’, according to the Secretary-General António Guterres. Human activity has increased the global average temperature by about 1.2 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are the highest they’ve been in two million years.
Avoiding complete catastrophe is possible only if action is taken swiftly. According to the scientists, extreme cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases could stabilise rising temperatures.
The world’s main greenhouse gas emitters are found in the energy, transport, agriculture, industry and construction sectors. Many major companies have recognised the need to adjust, and are developing products and services aimed at decarbonising the economy.
Swissquote’s Decarbonisation Certificate includes companies contributing to generating low-carbon electricity, improving the energy-efficiency of buildings, developing sustainable transportation, reducing animal product consumption and using sustainable construction materials.