Today’s economic prosperity and infrastructural development has been built on numerous innovations and industrial revolutions. From the early industrial revolution in the late 1700s to the current 5G revolution, we have come a long way from our ancestors to improve our everyday lives. However, while kick starting this journey to prosperity, we forgot to take care of the world we live in.
Presently, our fossil-fueled economies and industries have created a perilous situation for humans and our shared natural ecosystems. The increasing planetary warming, as seen through extreme weather events including storms and glacier melts, droughts, along with instability and migration, have driven a heightened sense of urgency to eradicate the use of fossil fuels.
Luckily for us, the Paris Climate Accords, made in 2015, pledge to protect the home we call Earth. Research consensus indicates that the shift to renewable energy sources, also known as fuel substitution, is critical to addressing the climate catastrophe. Literally speaking, decarbonization means the reduction of carbon, but technically, it is the conversion to an economic system that sustainably reduces and compensates the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO₂). Collectively as a species, our long-term goal is to create a CO₂-free global economy. Here, individuals and manufacturers strive to attain decarbonization, which means returning to CO₂ levels (in the atmosphere) that existed before human interference.
Why the Paris Accord is important
Achieving the goal of a carbon-neutral society is an extensively complex and ambitious pursuit but the Paris Accord is a watershed moment in the international climate change process. This is because for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations together in a common cause to undertake aggressive efforts to battle and adapt to the effects of climate change. The accord also intends to boost countries’ ability to deal with the effects of climate change through appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework, and an improved capacity-building framework. This can be done by peaking global greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible in order to achieve a climate-neutral planet by mid-century. In addition to governments, corporations must also take significant steps to make this a reality. Although travel limitations and economic slowdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic reduced greenhouse gas emissions by small margins, this improvement is only temporary. Climate change is not going to go away. Emissions are projected to return to higher levels after the global economy recovers from the pandemic.
The potential of renewable energy
In addition to fuel switching, renewable energy has numerous perceived advantages over fossil fuels, such as the relative availability of distributed renewable resources, access to and modularity of enabling technology, and the potential for new forms of ownership. This has sparked a movement dedicated to achieving social and environmental justice through the use of renewable energy technologies. These activities are considered an extension of numerous, popular social movements aiming to address climate and economic crises by calling for decentralized, democratized and community-based renewable energy futures in addition to opposing fossil fuel consumption and a market-driven green economy agenda.
Organizations around the world now must make sure that their sustainability strategy highlights decarbonization. Fortune 500 brands are now required to be fully dedicated to the aims of the Paris Climate Agreement, in order to reduce man-made CO2 emissions as rapidly as feasible. Around the globe, manufacturers have been actively recycling resources, including lowering water usage, recycling and reusing water, recovering and reusing resources (such as silver, aluminum, nickel), and building a recycling system for multifunction devices and other low-duty equipment. Organizations are making active efforts to effectively use resources and reduce waste by addressing the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) in product design, decreasing manufacturing loss, collecting, reusing, and recycling used products, and recycling for converting into valuables.
While our actions may seem small and insignificant today compared to the mammoth task at hand, we have set ourselves on the right path. A collective approach where individual and organizational steps are aligned towards solving a bigger issue will not just bring us together, but also help us achieve a common goal. The journey to achieving a decarbonized society is long-one with major hurdles, but together, we can fix this problem. It took us more than 250 years to understand the consequences of our progress, and altering the damage will take us time, but what’s important is that we have won the first battle – creating awareness and we are now in the second phase of our journey – sending the call to action.
Views of the author are personal and do not necessarily represent the website’s views.
Mr. Tribhuwan Joshi is the Lead, Brand Communication, CSR and PR at Fujifilm India Pvt Ltd. A communications specialist with 13 years of experience in Corporate Communications, Public Relations, Digital PR and CSR, Tribhuwan has worked with multiple bigshot companies across sectors like Consumer Electronics, Smartphones, IT and Life-style and Sports.