Monday 27 January 2020

Business must get on board with net zero for their very survival

Business must get on board with net zero for their very survival

The business community must embrace the net zero challenge or they won't survive.

That's the conclusion of Professor Piers Forster, Director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at Leeds University, one of of the members of the Committee on Climate Change, which came up with the 2050 target.

He told me that the reality of this task cannot be ignored: "They do need to get on board with this net zero target and pathway for their very survival. Perhaps we ought to accept there are businesses that really aren't going to survive this transition.

"But the other side of that is of course, this can kick-start brand new innovative businesses, that can really take on these net zero ideas and really deliver them in a big way that satisfies consumers."

The professor explained that many challenges lie ahead but setting the target in 2050 wasn't taken lightly. It was based on realistic economic and practical determinants.

2050 Target

"It is a very hard target. But also a credible one and it's also not going to be too expensive, only about one or two per cent of GDP, perhaps to deliver on that particular target. We did talk about bringing it earlier but I think a good job is to try and set the government a target it can potentially deliver on."

What about the calls from the likes of Extinction Rebellion for much more immediacy, targets in the 2030s or even mid 2020s?

The professor said they were unrealistic: "So if we set a target earlier there could be a chance we couldn't do it or it would be too expensive. But I do think if you look at a 2050 target, or 2040 target, or even 2030 one, there isn't too much difference in the early actions we have to take.

"So I think we don't need to get too paranoid or fixated on a particular target time, we just really look at the next ten years.

"We have to begin to put the actions in, for all parts of the economy to try and get on the net zero pathways."

Listen to the full conversation in the podcast above.

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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