The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s latest report is a wakeup call for humanity about the imminent climate catastrophe. The world is warmer than it has ever been in the last 125 thousand years, and the rate at which it is increasing is unignorable. The IPCC predicts that the world will continue to warm until the middle of the century, which will result in even more natural disasters; rising sea levels, forest fires, and dangerous extreme heats. The environmental situation has been labelled ‘code red for humanity’. Although it may seem like it’s all doom and gloom, the IPCC’s report was not completely negative. The main message was understandably one of urgency, but there was also a strong sense of hope. The report produced a range of evidence, (including observations, simulations and theories), that will allow us to action more robust climate projections and action.
Piers Forster, University of Leeds Climate Physicist, summarised in a two-part tweet that the IPCC report gave ‘much more certainty that if we get to net zero CO2 its contribution to further warming is also likely to stop’. Net zero is the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount of these gases that are removed from the atmosphere. We reach net zero when the number of gases added equal no more than the amount taken away. The IPCC report clearly shows how focusing on achieving net zero and maintaining a global temperature is the key to halting and reversing the climate crisis. If we reach net zero for CO2 by 2050, there is a strong chance that the climate will not surpass the 1.5°C benchmark that is in place. Experts believe that, if warming reaches 2°C, more than 70% of the earth’s coastlines will see ‘increased coastal flooding, beach erosion, salinization of water supplies and other impacts on humans and ecological systems’. Temperature change reversal could then occur if net zero is reached for all greenhouse gases.
What are the next steps?
It is time to stop pressing snooze on the climate warning alarms. Now is the time for us to act and halt climate change, something that would be difficult to achieve without biogas. At its full potential, anaerobic digestion (AD) and the biogas it produces, could deliver a 10% cut in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 explains Charlotte Morton, CEO of World Biogas Association (WBA).
The IPCC’s report is the push AD providers and users need to scale up and spread out fast. The unique nature of biogas production is its’ ability to reduce methane emissions, as well as CO2. As the IPCC report stated, any hope to reverse the climate crisis must involve a reduction in ALL greenhouse gases, not just CO2. Methane is the second most negatively impactful greenhouse gas after CO2, highlighting why AD is a vital element in tackling this new stage of the climate crisis.
AD has been at the forefront of the global net zero journey for years. As well as reducing methane emissions, AD’s synergy with food and drink companies and corporations is essential. With large businesses acknowledging their own impact in greenhouse gas emissions, AD has become a crucial step for many to make the shift towards green practices. Not only does AD reduce landfill waste and create transparent waste streams, but the green energy produced can replace the electricity and gas used by businesses across their sites and facilities, as well as powering homes in local communities.
It’s understandable that a few local residents may see extra traffic to AD sites as a negative – but this is vastly outweighed by the community and environment benefits which are on a different scale entirely. When some extra traffic on roads near the plant is placed on one side of the scales and the large positive impacts on the other – the scales tip very dramatically in favour of AD. Find out more about the myths of AD here.
The IPCC report has highlighted the urgency of the climate crisis, but we are hopeful about the future thanks to the power of AD.