Perspectives

Accelerating the transition to a net-zero future

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Global warming is one of the most pressing issues of our time. As it threatens the future of our planet, we need to take strict measures to prevent the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

To tackle the climate crisis and ensure that the global temperature remains within an acceptable range, the concept of net-zero emissions has come into the picture. It demands greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to almost zero and hence is an effective way to avert global warming.

 

A collaborative effort to reach the net-zero goal

The current climate situation calls for collective global action to reduce the carbon footprint and achieve net-zero emissions. A recent example of a worldwide collaborative effort to reach net-zero emissions would be the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). More than 38,000 participants attended the conference, representing 194 countries.

One of the main outcomes of COP26 was related to mitigation — reducing emissions. At the conference, 153 countries updated 2030 emissions targets known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs); these cover around 80%[1] of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Transparency and integrity in corporate climate action

Along with governments, many leading companies around the world have pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. However, there is a wide gap between the pledge and the approach that has been adopted to achieve the climate goal.

NewClimate Institute has addressed this issue with its recently released report titled “Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor 2022.” It has assessed the climate strategies of 25 major global companies based on their transparency and integrity in four action areas:

  • Tracking and disclosure of emissions
  • Setting specific and substantiated targets
  • Reducing emissions
  • Taking responsibility for unabated emissions through climate contributions or offsetting

The report has pointed out the importance of differentiating between real climate leadership and unsubstantiated greenwashing. It has identified good practice approaches that can be adopted by companies planning to develop a comprehensive and robust climate strategy.

 

The decarbonisation journey

Due to the ongoing climate change, companies’ right to operate has completely shifted. Carbon-intensive companies cannot exist in the future if the climate crisis is to be avoided. This is especially true for oil and gas companies, which are primary contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, and hence need to decarbonise to secure themselves in the future.

Multiple oil and gas companies have already initiated the transition from fossil fuels to low-carbon energy sources. A leading oil and gas company has formulated an integrated strategy that defines its path to net-zero emissions by 2050. As part of this strategy, it has publicly stated that it is taking major steps towards climate change and energy transition, such as:

  • Working with customers to increase the demand for low-carbon energy services
  • Identifying opportunities for low-carbon solutions in the market
  • Building low-carbon businesses of significant scale
  • Collaborating with other organisations to explore new ways of reducing emissions
  • Advocating policies and regulations that support the global energy transition

 

Role of technology in driving renewable energy adoption

Renewable energy is one of the core elements in the decarbonisation journey of energy companies. In the future, renewable energy will be the foundation of all energy companies and their strategies. Today, as companies gradually shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, it’s essential to understand that this transition will bring several changes along the way. And this is precisely where technology can play an important role.

Technological innovation can help companies manage a renewable-based energy system. Companies can use the power of AI, blockchain and cloud to tackle any challenge related to renewable resources. For example, they can leverage these technologies to build a smart and flexible model — one that is capable of handling energy supply fluctuations and unpredictability.

 

Renewables Forecasting

At IBM, we offer Renewables Forecasting — a platform specifically designed and developed to help companies increase the integration of renewables into the grid. It’s one of the components of IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite and uses AI and advanced analytics to accurately forecast wind and solar farm power outputs.

With the help of IBM Renewables Forecasting platform, energy companies are able to:

  • Increase the utilisation of renewable resources
  • Optimise operational efficiencies
  • Eliminate unforeseen intermittencies
  • Improve grid resiliency and reliability
  • Drive business benefits and cost savings

To learn more, watch this webinar that provides a deep insight into IBM’s capabilities in renewables and energy solutions. See how we are working with energy firms and oil and gas companies to help them switch to renewables and fast-track the journey to net-zero emissions.

[1] COP26: The Glasgow Climate Pact, 2021

Associate Consultant Blockchain

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