A Call to Action: The IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report  

A Call to Action: The IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report

Image: An intense summer thunderstorm travelling over Mississauga and Brampton, ON. Photo courtesy of Julia Kole.

Climate change has been a hot topic in the media and policy-making these last few weeks, and rightly so. On March 20th, 2023 the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its 6th Assessment Synthesis Report: AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023 . This report summarizes the state of knowledge of climate change, its widespread impacts and risks, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. The IPCC identifies where there is international scientific agreement on climate change including technical analysis and socio-economic topics.  

While it is recommended to read the report in its entirety, Partners in Project Green has identified these top 4 points to consider: 

  1. Globally, our world is 1.1 degrees C warmer than pre-industrial levels due to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities.  

This increase in temperature threatens human and species health and puts at risk the natural systems we all rely on for our food, water, and shelter. As it stands, we are not on track to limit warming to just 1.5 degrees C or even 2 degrees C. The more we overshoot this limit, the more net negative CO2 emissions will be needed to return to 1.5°C by 2100. This is why it is imperative that industries and individuals across all sectors intensify their GHG emission reduction actions now.  

You can find out more about the different ways climate change will affect life in the GTA and how you can create the best sustainable business strategies through Partners in Project Green’s Building a Climate Resilient Business Kit.  

  1. The largest share and growth in GHG emissions are from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes, namely energy, industry, transport, and buildings.  

There are several mitigation options, such as solar energy, wind energy, electrification of our urban systems, increasing urban green infrastructure, energy efficiency, demand-side management and reduced food waste and loss. These alternatives and management activities are technically viable, are increasingly more cost effective and are generally supported by the public and stakeholders. For example, last decade saw global decreases in the unit costs of solar energy (85%), wind energy (55%), and lithium-ion batteries (85%), while simultaneously seeing an increase in their installation and application.   

Learn more about industry trends, changes and policies at the upcoming Environment and Cleantech Business and Policy Forum on April 4th, hosted by the Ontario Environment Industry Association. You can also learn more about low-carbon energy options such as renewable natural gas through Partners in Project Green’s recorded webinar Next In Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) 

  1. Key barriers to climate change adaptation are limited resources, lack of private sector and citizen engagement, and insufficient mobilization of financing options.  

Many businesses want to adopt sustainable solutions but often have challenges when it comes to the related capital expenses or budget limitations. Currently, adaptation financing has come largely from public sources; some climate finance was targeted to adaptation while the overwhelming majority went to mitigation. Although climate finance has increased since the last AR Synthesis report (AR5), there is still much work to be done in this sector.  

There are proactive steps you can take right now to improve your financial literacy about funding your sustainability efforts. Join Partners in Project Green on Thursday, April 13, 2023 at their first of a 3-part learning series, Financing Net-Zero, where you will learn about the ways you can access capital to fund your climate change mitigation and adaptation projects. Register for Financing Net-Zero and choose either the in-person or their online option.  

  1. Solutions for GHG reduction in developed areas are found in how we design, build, and manage them.  

When creating a climate change strategic plan, businesses should consider the efficient design, construction, retrofit, and use of their buildings as a part of climate change adaptation and mitigation. It is also imparatrive to reduce and change business operational energy and material consumption, eliminating inefficiencies whenever possible. Shifting towards electrification in combination with low emissions energy sources is vital to work at keeping the global temperature within a threshold our human operations and activities can adapt to.  

Consider becoming part of the ongoing discussions and support that Members receive from Partners in Project Green. Check out our Membership options and make an investment towards sustainability for your business. 

The IPCC recognizes that businesses of all sizes and across sectors have a unique opportunity and global expectation to actively approach climate change mitigation and adaptation. At Partners in Project Green, we continue to collaborate with businesses and community leaders to address sustainable business practices. As the AR6 has indicated, we have the technology, the knowledge, the innovation and an understanding of responsibility to curb our GHG emissions and prevent the worst-case scenarios of what climate change can do to our planet. The time for action is now so let’s get started!  

Partners in Project Green is strives to provide relevant content and resources to help our members, our subscribers, and the GTA business community understand how climate change will impact their operations and their bottom line. Reach out to us today to find out how our programs can support your work on sustainable business practices. Contact our Coordinator for Community Relations, Julia Kole at julia.kole@trca.ca for details.