Publication date: October 2017
The Paris Agreement on climate change contained the commitment to hold the increase in global temperatures to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Somewhat unexpectedly, it also included a higher level of ambition to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.
Warming has already hit 1°C above pre-industrial levels, with existing infrastructure and policies locking in future emissions. However, the best available science shows that there is still a window of opportunity to achieve a 1.5°C goal, although this will be highly challenging and require a step change in current levels of action on climate change.
From a business perspective, many companies will be negatively affected by the direct consequences of climate change, including damage to buildings and infrastructure, the disruption of logistics and supply chains, impacts on water availability and diminished agricultural productivity.
They will also be affected by indirect consequences, such as regulatory and policy change, the development of disruptive technologies and business models, or shifts in customer behaviour.
Delivering on a 1.5°C ambition will require global greenhouse gas emissions to peak in the near future, followed by an aggressive mitigation pathway leading towards a zero carbon world by around the middle of this century. Beyond this point, significant deployment of negative emissions will continue to be required, actively removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Businesses will have a key role to play within this transition, reducing the emissions associated with their operations and supply chains. They will also be able to access new commercial opportunities through delivering products and services that are compatible with a prosperous, zero carbon future, as well as developing and deploying the negative emissions solutions that will be required later this century.
This report is based on a series of events hosted by the Carbon Trust working alongside BT – one of the first organisations globally to set a science-based 1.5°C target – to gain a deeper understanding of how businesses will be able to support the move towards a 1.5°C world.