Published On April 15, 2021
There is no question surrounding the importance of the environment. We bank on its spoils to fuel our day to day while we strive to preserve and conserve the limited natural resources provided. While the global pandemic has taken precedence over all other concerns, it is critical we spend our time observing and assessing for the steps we must take in the future.
With most of our time spent indoors and in isolation, market research services offer strong insight into existing conditions, past conditions and help with projecting the future status of the environment. Keeping track of global events and catastrophes helps create a more crystalline picture of existing conditions. Perhaps 2021 is the year of strong positive change and healing for our environment.
1. The Climate Conference
The successor to the Paris conference of 2015 will be held in Scotland during November of this year. The Paris meeting was critical for uniting countries in the name of better environmental care and sustainability practices. Unfortunately, the commitments offered in terms of carbon emissions were not met. The aim in Paris was to globally agree to curb global temperature rising to under 2 degrees centigrade at 1.5 (BBC) above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.
If we continue on the existing trajectory, it is expected that we would reach an unfortunate 3 degrees centigrade increase by the end of the century. The Glasgow conference was set for 2020, but given prevailing circumstances had to be moved to this year. We hope to see the best possible results in terms of carbon cuts from the upcoming event.
2. Carbon Cuts
A surprise announcement this year left environmentalists stunned; Chinese President Xi Jinping, at a UN General Assembly, declared his intention for China to go carbon neutral by 2060 (BBC). China is currently responsible for over 28% of the world’s emissions. To make the commitment and execute the same would change the impact of environmental conservation efforts moving forward.
China is not the only country taking the initiative. The UK made a legally binding commitment towards the same in June of 2019. The European Union next in March of 2020, and Japan and Korea shortly after. Currently, over 110 countries have taken the pledge. Together they form over 65% of the world’s global emissions and over 70% of the world’s economy. This will be a key talking point at the Glasgow conference mentioned above.
3. The Cost of Renewable Energy
More countries are able to pledge towards going net-zero due to the rapidly declining cost of renewable energy sources. October of 2020 saw the International Energy Agency deduce solar power schemes are indeed the cheapest source of electricity at this time. Even in terms of supplementary infrastructure, building stations to harness renewable energy is significantly cheaper than fossil fuel production.
With growing investments into wind, solar and battery power, prices are said to fall so low they could substitute gas and coal-powered options. As the ability to produce sustainable energy gets cheaper, more organizations are likely to incorporate the same instead of the more expensive alternative. The end result; companies do not need coaxing to make the transition as the cheaper alternative in this case, is just good business sense.
4. The Covid Factor
The ongoing Corona pandemic has been the most significant economic shake-up since the Great Depression. First world countries have been quick to offer stimulus packages to maintain some degree of economic activity and prevent markets from crashing. At this time, it has never been cheaper for governments to invest in this type of planning. Global interest rates are at an all-time low and at some points even hit negative figures.
This has also created room for countries to “build back better”. Much like China and the EU, America also hopes to start the process of decarbonization. The hope is countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia who have chosen to not participate in these discussions, will eventually see merit and join the rest of the world in the fight against rising global temperatures.
5. Green Business
Lower costs of renewable energy have encouraged a change in how business activities are conducted. Companies like Tesla, offering strong environmentally-friendly consumer products, have seen stock prices rise while companies like Exxon (once one of the most valuable worldwide) has seen depreciation so aggressive, it is no longer considered a part of major US corporations.
There is growing worldwide momentum around encouraging businesses to care about their impact on the environment. The overall objective is for both corporations and investors to make their activities and investments transparent and in line with achieving a net-zero world.
While we introduce better precautionary measures worldwide, it is also important to understand what we are currently combating;
- Rising CO2 levels within the atmosphere. Which at its current pace could rise up to levels only seen 55 million years ago.
- The hottest summer globally recorded in Europe.
- A reverse El Niño event (band of warm water that forms within the Pacific Ocean), La Niña (a cooler band of water forming instead).
- A temperature recording of 38 degrees Celsius (BBC) within Easter Serbia, the hottest temperature recorded in the Arctic Circle.
- The destruction of 10 million hectares of forest between 2015-2020.
The evidence of the pressure we have put on the environment is all around us. With melting glaciers and rising temperatures, if we push forward without better methods, we are likely to destroy the only planet capable of sustaining life at the current scale.
It is imperative to maintain awareness around environmental concerns and the measures the government are or are not taking to address the same. The added awareness helps create mounting pressure, letting governments know citizens are taking note and are pushing for change.
Conducting adequate market research around the topic creates awareness with context and accuracy. Especially with an issue as relevant and sensitive as climate change, keeping as many people in the loop as possible can only help gain traction towards the cause.
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