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Year 2030, minus the climate crisis

Jan 13,2022 - Last updated at Jan 13,2022

It is 2028 and the main media headline is “The battle against climate change is coming to its final act”.  In 2030, experts announce that more than 85 per cent of the current global energy is supplied by renewable and efficient clean resources, moreover, the global temperatures are within limits and countries are developing within a decarbonised economy. Doesn’t this scenario seem far-fetched? 

The current climate projections indicate that the next few years are critical for achieving the climate goals in 2050 but what if a new quick-fix was discovered within the next 5 years? Investments in climate technologies have been on the rise, with billions of dollars being funnelled in creating the space for innovation and commercialisation of current technologies. Could this potentially help eliminate climate change faster than we had thought?

Is Climate tech the next crucial move? 

Climate tech refers to the technologies that aim to reduce the greenhouse gases emissions in the different sectors and industries. Investment in climate tech has been growing, as $222 billion were invested worldwide between 2013 and 2021, and an amount of $87.5 billion was invested solely between 2020 and 2021. Yet, accelerating the efforts towards finding a break-through technology requires mobilising these funds to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs and ventures. Why? Because according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), almost half of the technologies that are needed to achieve net zero emissions have not been invented yet and the technologies that have been proven to be a solution have not yet been commercialised. 

How is upcoming climate tech different?

Between the years 2006 to 2011, almost 90 per cent of climate tech start-up investments did not produce enough returns and lost large amounts of money which scared off many investors. The reality has changed since then; climate change is no longer a theoretical concern and extreme weather catastrophes are recurring more frequently around the globe and are not confined to a certain region, and are causing severe economic and humanitarian consequences. This looming threat has incentivised an urgent joint effort by governments to work hand-in-hand with the private sector to avert this crisis. The former to increase allocated funds in fighting climate change as well as change policies to encourage climate tech implementation, while the latter to increase the investment in new or current climate tech opportunities not only for their own economic interest but the regional and global environmental interest too. Moreover, the renewable energy sector is continuing to grow exponentially presenting itself as a more -economically and environmentally- viable replacement to fossil fuel powered sources.

A pawn move for the endgame

Investing in climate tech is definitely an amplification of intent in our challenge against climate change. Recent IEA report shows optimism towards carbon capture, utilisation and storage technology (CCUS) with more increased investments and recognition due to its vital role in removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. The probability of discovering a cost-efficient and ground-breaking technology in our current time is high and will continue to increase each year. That does not, however, mean that we should wait for it to happen; after all, it is only a possibility.

Nonetheless, the best climate science will not succeed in silo. We, humans, are increasingly responsible for climate change and the earth’s temperature through unsustainable patterns of consumption, daily harmful activities and carbonised economic growth. Therefore, a change in behaviour and social systems is as important as investing in climate technologies. Again, without public and political will for climate change action by enforcing policies that incentivise the implementation of climate tech and at the same time shrink the human harmful habits, foreshadows an alarming climate future.

Conclusion

Investors and entrepreneurs are taking a comprehensive and holistic approach to climate change which will eventually yield successful and efficient technologies to mitigate climate change effects. This may take place way sooner than we think due to the financial investment and knowledge capital utilised toward this issue. However, climate tech will be ineffective with the current unsustainable patterns of human behaviour. Accordingly, current climate mitigation and adaptation measures should be embedded with climate tech to increase the probability of winning the battle against the climate crisis.

Samer Fakhoury is a researcher in the Sustainable Development Division at the West Asia-North Africa Institute (WANA)

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