This much-anticipated report has taken up the aspirations of the 2015 Paris climate pact and reiterates how vital it is that we act now if we are to limit the rise in global temperatures. This is an unprecedented challenge, and the report is clear that rising sea levels and increased occurrences of extreme weather are expected to continue and worsen. It does, however, point out that it is possible to limit the increase in global temperatures – if governments and businesses commit to radical decarbonisation, at a faster rate than ever before.
Sarah Butler-Sloss, our Founder-Director said: “Limiting global temperatures to 1.5°C is arguably the biggest challenge the human race has ever faced. Renewable energy, sustainable farming practices and zero-emission transport would have to be rolled out at an unprecedented rate if we are to have any chance of stopping further rises, let alone reversing the trend. We have to do things very differently, and quickly, and this will require some fundamental rewiring of the systems we currently inhabit. Government policy to support almost total decarbonisation, and serious commitment from the financial sector to divert funding away from fossil fuels and into sustainable energy technology are a must.”
Ashden believes that most of the technology needed to effect change is already available – as can be seen in the pioneering organisations that have won Ashden Awards over the past 17 years. These 205 sustainable energy leaders are testament to the enormous impact that clean energy solutions can have, improving people’s health, education and livelihoods.
We also acknowledge that the issue now is around radical market transformation and creating the conditions needed to help sustainable technologies and practices tip the balance, so that it becomes more profitable to curb CO2 emissions than to increase them.
“The scale of the challenge must not be underestimated, but neither should the reward be played down. There is a lot of work ahead, and some of the changes may be disruptive, but the prize is not just a planet that can support life for millennia to come – it is also immediate benefits for people now, with cleaner air to breathe, more liveable cities, access to sustainable energy for all, buildings that are nicer and more pleasant to live and work in and creation of new, rewarding jobs,” Sarah Butler-Sloss concluded.