Report on Svalbard Just the Tip of the Iceberg
Following a sobering report by Laura Tobin, GMB Presenter and Fellow of the Royal Meteorology Society, it is clear that we are not currently on track for avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Laura presented live from Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago famous for its Global Seed Vault – a vault that stores duplicates of seed samples from the world’s crop collections as an insurance against catastrophic crop diversity loss. The feature highlighted the devastating impacts that global warming is having on the area, depicting an ice fjord next to Longyearbyen that no longer freezes over in winter, something that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago.
With continuing global trends in emissions, the future of the archipelago looks bleak. In its report ‘Climate in Svalbard 2100’, the Norwegian Environment Agency paints a sombre picture of its future. The loss of glaciers will fundamentally change the landscape and lead to global sea-level rise. Annual rainfall will drastically increase as will the intensity of rainstorms, contributing to an increase in landslides and avalanches. The threat to wildlife of such sudden change is severe.
Global Impacts of Temperature Increase
Business Must Play a Part
The essential goal of the Paris agreement has been to limit the rise in average global temperatures to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels (mid-19th century). The aspirational or wished-for objective of the agreement is to strive for a temperature rise of no more than 1.5°C. However, with current global emission targets, a 3-4 °C increase is likely this century.
Since the UK became the first major economy to legislate a net-zero target, we have seen an increasing demand for corporate action. If we were to glean a positive from COVID-19, net-zero targets by organisations have doubled since its beginnings. Now, 70 FTSE 100 companies have made firm commitments to achieving net-zero operational and supply chain emissions by 2050 at a minimum.
For many corporations, emissions relating to the purchase of energy (technical term: Scope 2 emissions) are easily diminished through investment in renewable technologies, energy efficiency and smart energy management. Solar photovoltaics are no longer a technology for the fanatics or more affluent individuals. With soaring energy prices, they are now a viable technology for SMEs to PLCs, offering a quick payback (3-4 years), minimal maintenance and a levelised cost to generate as low a 3-4 pence per kWh. It is now recognised as one of the most cost-effective and financially sensible ways of reducing Scope 2 emissions.
To see how solar photovoltaics will help your organisation on the road to net zero, get in contact with one of our consultants