Recently, the Harvard Business Review polished a story called “10 Sustainable Business Stories Too Important to Miss” where the main focus of discussion was how we are impacting the environment and main pressure on business due to social and environmental changes. Some of the world’s largest and innovative companies are already recognizing this and making necessary changes in their policies in order to deal with the climatic changes.
In recent years, our trends of carbon emission continue to increase and so is the global temperature. In another assessment report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) it has become clear that we are the only ones to blame for the current climatic conditions that our planet is facing today. The report also calculated and estimated the amount of carbon we can safely add to the environment to keep the global temperature below the safety levels.
World leaders have agreed on a threshold of 2 degrees of global warming. In the Copenhagen Accord, an agreement was reached among the international climate change negotiators, in 2009. In the United Nations conference for climate change, all the world leaders agreed that the temperature rise of this century should not exceed by more than a 2 degrees Centigrade, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Although some scientists and activists like James Hansen believes that even a 2 degree rise in the global temperature is too high.
The reality of pollution and carbon emission
In reality, the amount of carbon emissions by us and the negative impacts of our human activities are scarier than what we think. PwC’s annual Low Carbon Economy Index shows that our carbon emission level per dollar of GDP we produce or carbon intensity needs to be lower than 6%. This year the recommended annual carbon intensity rate is even lower than last year.
We have been witnessing more and more extreme weather patterns and natural disasters recently. The devastation in Philippines by tropical cyclone Haiyan, record heat in Australia, and droughts in far west United States, are just a few examples. The air pollution in China has broken all previous air pollution records of the world. The correlation between pollution and climatic changes is becoming clearer every year with each of these extreme climatic events.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “high temperatures, such as those experienced in the U.S. in 2012, are now likely to occur four times as frequently due to human-induced climate change.”
World’s leading clean tech countries
The United States and Germany are two leading nations of the world today, who are continuously coming up with new technology to address carbon emission problems. Technologies like clean reusable sources of energy, hybrid automobiles, energy efficient machinery, and so on are revolutionizing the way energy is produced in the twenty first century. Big companies like Wal-Mart and Microsoft are joining in with the green revolution. They are the largest solar panel buyers in the USA.
In 2013, 99% of the new power added to the National Grid, came from solar panels and wind powered turbines. Almost 60% of the country’s energy comes from solar powered power generators in Germany. Over the past five years, the electricity produced from wind powered turbines has quadrupled in the USA.
Global hunger and food waste
Global food waste as well as hunger in the developing countries has become another center of attention. The growing population of the world is making us rethink, how would we feed the 9 billion people of the world, in 2050, of which, a third of the population will be from the developing countries. According to a recent report, we throw away about $750 billion worth of food every year. Half the food the United State produces never reaches the plates of the consumers. They are either wasted while transporting, storing, packaging, preserving, or marketing on the shelves of the grocery stores. A good amount of energy and other resources are also wasted along with food. For example, most of the food needs some kind of transportation, irrigation, preservation, and storage facilities, where energy and resources are required. The trucks that deliver food also leave a good amount of carbon footprint on the environment.
The new methods of agriculture that applies sustainable methods of agriculture and reduces global impact and desertification and degradation of land are becoming new focus of scientific researches. Aquaculture is gaining huge popularity today, and according to many, aquaculture and hydroponic agriculture will become one of the key factors of increasing food production for the future.