The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the first part of its Sixth Assessment Report on climate change on 9 August. The largest-ever report produced on climate change issues a stark warning: the world is running out of time to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Scientists have warned that climate change can still be limited – but only if there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The report outlines the impact global warming will have, with more extreme weather, rising sea levels, melting permafrost, marine heatwaves and severe impacts on ocean ecosystems and the people that rely on them.
In many ways, this is an alarming publication and should act as a wake-up call to world leaders who are preparing to meet in Glasgow at COP26, where they will attempt to negotiate a more ambitious package of measures to stop climate change.
However, if there is a positive to be taken from it, it’s that with urgent action we can still prevent the worst impacts – and that what we are all doing working for SSE can and will make a difference.
Our vision is to be a leading energy company in a net zero world. A ‘net zero world’ is one in which the total impact of society’s activity is not adding carbon to the atmosphere – and may even be removing it.
Many companies talk about net zero, but we are actually doing some very real and significant things in the here and now that are driving progress towards net zero.
We’re building more offshore wind than anyone else in the world. We are investing in the network upgrades needed to support huge increases in renewables and new types of demand from electric cars and heat pumps. We are finding clean solutions for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine by pioneering new carbon capture and hydrogen technologies, and developing ‘nature’s battery’ in the form of hydro pumped storage. We are helping customers access low carbon energy.
SSE’s own carbon emissions are also being drastically reduced – and that’s important. Like many companies we have signed up to the Race to Zero, committing to be net zero across our operations by 2050.
But our role is so much bigger than this. We are leading to way to a net zero electricity system. And clean electricity holds the key to cutting emissions right across the economy. Once we have net zero power, that power can fuel our cars, heat our homes and fire our industrial processes.
We’re proud to be a principal partner of COP26. It’s less than 100 days away and has been described as humanity’s ‘last best chance’ to avert climate disaster. We’re supporting UK Government’s efforts to drive global agreement on the need for faster action, while doing everything in our power to speed up the transition in the UK and Ireland.
This is a time to take responsibility. From world leaders and governments, to businesses and to each of us as individuals, we must all take responsibility for arresting climate change while we still can