Climate disasters, energy transition and trillion trees - together for a green and sustainable future
- Energy transition as a central key to climate change
- Digital tech as an accelerator for sustainability
- Ecopreneurship revolution creates social change
Davos 2022 highlights
This has been working for over 50 years World Economic Forum, an international organization for public and private labor, working to find solutions to global challenges. To shape a sustainable future together. This year, the main focus was on topics related to climate protection, the environment and technology.
In view of the rising temperatures and the resulting weather events, the transformation of the global economy is more important than ever. The goal is decarbonization and net-zero emissions, but this requires an annual cost of $9,2 trillion. The question arises as to whether and how these costs are to be borne and what can we expect?
Global energy security and transition are the focus
Rising energy prices and bottlenecks in supply are coming to the fore. The pandemic and geopolitical events, such as the ongoing war in Ukraine, are making it difficult to achieve climate goals and sustainable energy supply. Accordingly, more investments are required, but the energy consumption of industries must also be minimized and its end consumption redesigned - that is what the Energy Transition Index 2022 (ETI) says.
The ETI shows that the world has made measurable progress towards transition in recent years. Accordingly, the global average value of the EIT has steadily improved in recent years. However, this is no longer enough to achieve the climate target of "1,5 degrees" by 2050. Disruptive events make this difficult as demand for fossil fuels increases, prices soar and energy security is high on many countries' agendas.
The energy triangle: affordability, security, access and sustainability
A completely uniform approach to these requirements is required. Difficult with an unaffordable energy supply. Therefore, low-carbon energy systems are in demand. According to the ETI, supply source and supply mix are key to strong energy security. This means that domestic energy sources must be low-carbon in the long term. As a result, however, the total requirement must also be efficiently reduced. This means: less dependence of the individual states on the suppliers.
Clean alternatives that can be implemented quickly create incentives for investments in low-emission technologies and production facilities. However, the switch to renewable energies also raises concerns, in many countries power grids are outdated and the required regulations are not sufficiently developed to speed up measures and investments. Accordingly, the anchoring of climate goals in the laws is essential.
Uniform decarbonization is only possible together
Globally, industries account for 30% of all emissions, so they are fundamentally in the foreground. Only together can the global turnaround be advanced step by step. Accordingly, three archetypal partnerships need to be established and replicated.
- The cooperation between customers and suppliers, for example, purchase agreements for low-emission products or circular supply networks can arise here
- Cooperation between cross-sector industries, for example with knowledge sharing
- The collaboration of stakeholders, including governments, policy makers, investors, research and development, or even NGOs
In summary, a uniform, clean energy transition involves key challenges: because different countries have different challenges and needs. Depending on the infrastructure and its current energy system, enormous financial resources are required.
“Reaching the net-zero emissions target requires large and long-term investments along the value chain - Jan Jenisch, CEO of Holcim
How digital tech can reduce emissions from industries
Enabling technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud, blockchain, 5G and more can reduce emissions from the three sectors of energy, mobility and materials by 2050% by 20. However, there is still a large disparity between commitments and actions. It is estimated that just 7.5% of emissions have been reduced, out of the 55% required. Digital technologies are simple and readily available means for companies to advance the climate change. Because this brings transparency, efficiency and the often missing circularity with it.
“The combination of digitization and sustainability is already creating significant value across industries, but many companies are still looking for the practical actions” - Kathleen O'Reilly, Global Lead Accenture Strategy
Sustainable flying, thanks to sustainable aviation fuel - the solution?
Aviation must also be part of the decarbonization, options for sustainable flying are increasingly available. Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) should therefore represent a clean replacement from sustainable resources. To date, over 100 organizations have signed up for the Clean Skies for Tomorrow 2030 Ambition to advance SAF technology. To date, almost 400.000 commercial flights have already been refueled, some with the SAF. These fuels can be mixed with conventional kerosene.
Mainly made from various by-products, they are proven to reduce 80% of their greenhouse gas emissions. Some come from biofuels. But power-to-liquids, which are synthetic fuels produced by renewable electricity from green sources together with captured carbon dioxide, also offer a huge opportunity. However, the high costs and the still limited supply of SAF remain problematic.
The trillion trees movement for a green future
A forest is more than just the number of trees. He plays a vital role in our lives. Whether climate regulation, water intake, soil conservation or food security. Without nature there are no people. Once founded against the background of creating worldwide interest in nature and drawing attention to socio-economic risks, 1t.org has set itself the goal of planting one trillion trees by 2030. Around 65 companies have agreed to plant 5,7 billion trees.
Trillion Trees was founded in 2016 as a joint venture between BirdLife International, the Wildlife Conservation Society and WWF. With the vision of restoring the forests and protecting them in the future. In the last two years alone, over 20,8 million hectares (approx. 9,6 billion trees) have been rebuilt. To help, China's special envoy on climate change said they are working with the World Economic Forum and the China Green Foundation to plant 2030 billion trees by 70.
The ecopreneurship revolution
The generations after us are crucial for the development of our ecosystem. Accordingly, the so-called "ecopreneurs" put the restoration of nature at the center of their business models. For a new and greener economic model, they set society on a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable path. To promote this, investments were also made in the education of nature and the climate. So that young leaders learn to use green alternatives and to understand and scale their maximum impact.