Whilst we all know that a certain ‘C’ word may have taken its toll on the momentum to tackle climate change, there are still plenty of reasons to be positive about the future of our planet and the changes that can start to take shape in 2021.
With vaccines finally beginning to roll out for coronavirus, we are all hopeful that the end is finally in sight. With this in mind, this year maybe the time to re-focus on our environmental targets and take up the baton with new vigour.
So, what positives can we predict for 2021 when it comes to environmental matters?
- The climate conference
November 2021 will see world leaders gather in Glasgow to follow up on the initial 2015 conference when nations from around the world came together to agree the need to tackle climate change. In 2015 it was decided that global temperature rises should be limited to 1.5C. Unfortunately, the world isn’t on track to achieve this as yet and the meeting planned for 2020 was cancelled due to coronavirus. However, the good news is that the meeting will definitely go ahead this year and it will give leaders a chance to dramatically improve carbon cuts.
- Many countries have committed to carbon cuts already
China is great example of this. Last September Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, announced that China was to go carbon neutral by 2060 – a move that stunned environmentalists. China is the most polluting nation so a move like this is a huge step in the right direction and other countries are joining suit. The UK was the first major economy in the world to make a legally binding net zero commitment in June 2019 and the European Union followed suit in March 2020. Following this, South Korea and Japan set a net zero target for mid-century. In doing this they have joined over 100 countries that have done the same and with the defeat of Donald Trump, the US has now also re-joined the carbon cutting cause.
- Renewable energy is now the cheapest
The international Energy Agency stated in October that solar power schemes now offer the cheapest source of electricity in history. Fossil fuel power is far more expensive in many parts of the world than a wide variety of its renewable alternatives – so what better reason than to continue to invest in the development of renewables during the coming year.
- The Covid effect
The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us that we are not invincible and we cannot control everything in our world. It has also caused a deep financial recession meaning that governments are reacting with packages to stimulate and reboot the economy. This presents a great opportunity to ‘build back better’ with greener business initiatives. In addition, covid has arguably also led to a renewed appreciation for the world around us. With shops and leisure facilities closed, many of us have been forced out into nature and are now more likely to think twice about how our actions might destroy the environment we live in.
- Business is going green
Industries that rest on their laurels and continue to do business in the old way will have a wake-up call. Consumers want to know they are interacting with companies who take their role in protecting the environment seriously. Furthermore, there is less incentive to invest in fosil fuel stations that will eventually become obsolete. This trend is already becoming obvious in the markets, for example Tesla’s rocketing share price has made in the most valuable car company in the world. At the same time businesses are beginning to embed climate risk into their financial decision making with an aim of showing activities and investments that will contribute to a zero carbon world.