We are on the fast track to climate disaster: If the world continues to produce as much CO2 emissions, our planet will heat up by 3.2 degrees Celsius by 2050 compared to pre-industrial times. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) could not be clearer in the second part of its sixth assessment report, published in March 2022.
If, on the other hand, we want to stay on course for the 1.5-degree target, global CO2 emissions must already be cut by 43 percent by 2030 and one-third of methane emissions must be avoided.
Major Gaps in Climate Protection
But the climate protection measures laid down by many states are nowhere near enough to achieve this. However, there are glimmers of hope. In some states and sectors, there has been strong progress. For example, according to a report by the German Öko-Institute, the German energy industry may actually meet its carbon emission targets – and in fact overachieve on them. But a lot has to happen before that becomes a reality: coal must be cut by 2030, renewable energies must be massively expanded and the CO2 prices of the European emissions trading system must continue to rise.
So it remains to be said: A climate-neutral future is still possible. But this requires effective instruments and regulations. But we do not have much time left for this! So this is a good and important time to look at solutions.
Mission Climate Neutrality
As part of the project “Mission Climate Neutrality – Driving the Transformation with Digital Solutions”, we at RESET are producing in four online special features (RESET Greenbooks) to explore the extent to which digital tools and new technologies can make an effective contribution to reducing CO2 emissions and driving towards climate neutrality. The starting point is the sectors that are responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions: energy (industry), transport, buildings and agriculture (see Federal Environment Agency 2020).
In interviews, background articles and many best practice examples, we take a look at digital solutions and new technologies within the transformation fields and try to develop guard rails for their effective use along ecological and social framework conditions. The focus is on digital solutions, because the rapid developments in the field of digitalisation are producing new, promising solutions. If these are used correctly, they have the potential to accelerate transformation processes toward sustainable development.
Energy Transition – The Future is Renewable
Energy will be our first transformation field, energy, under the title “Energy transition – the future is renewable”. The focus here is on intelligent solutions in the areas of energy generation, distribution, storage and efficiency enhancement. The occasion could not be more urgent: Not only is the energy industry as a sector responsible for the most CO2 emissions in many states, but the war in Ukraine also shows more clearly than ever how important it is to be as independent as possible from energy imports through renewable energies.
In its report, the IPCC is certain that the knowledge and technology are in place to still meet climate targets. “But strengthened action needs to start this year, not next year; this month, not next month; and indeed today, not tomorrow,” says Inger Andersen, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, at the press conference to release the IPCC report.
So, let’s get started!