Science-Based Targets enable to curb global warming. Before going into further details you can wa the NASA video called A year in the life of Earth’s CO2, to see CO2 emissions evolve over a year. Carbon Dioxide or CO2 is part of Greenhouse Gases emissions, meaning gases whose higher concentration lead to an increase in global temperatures. Discover in this article how you can reduce them with Science-Based Targets.
What are the key findings of such video on CO2 emissions?
- In Spring and Summer, the concentration of Carbon Dioxide decreases, as the photosynthesis operated by the plants increases.
- In any case, all CO2 emissions do not stay in the atmosphere. Half of them is absorbed through natural phenomena linked to the weather.
- The concentration is higher in the Northern hemisphere than in the Southern.
- The CO2 emissions have increased from one year to the other. The video takes data from 2006.
In 2016, where are we standing?
It is now internationally recognized and proved by scientific scenarios: the rise in temperature should be kept to 1.5°C/ 2°C. How can you make this happen?
As an organization, you can implement emissions reduction initiatives to decrease your own Greenhouse gas emissions. However, how do you know that such initiatives will help keep the level recommended by the climate experts? A recent best practice is the adaptation of Science-Based Targets.
Science-based targets are quantitative objectives in terms of Greenhouse Gases reduction, aligned on the scientific scenarios. By setting science-based targets, your company is sure to respect such scenarios.
How do science-based targets work?
Several frameworks now offer a methodology on how to assess science-based targets. They all have in common that they assume a so-called “carbon budget”, which represents the remaining sum of emissions that humanity can emit while keeping the temperature increase below 2°C.
What the methods then do is allocating a share of this “carbon budget” to an individual company. Three main approaches exist:
This refers to the reduction of absolute emissions: Looking at how the global emissions need to be reduced, this method just assigns the same rate of reduction to individual companies. For example, if a scenario determines that absolute global emissions should be reduced by 55% until 2015, the same target would be applicable to each company
By taking sector and/or region-specific carbon budgets as a starting point instead of an overall global budget, this approach can be further refined.
This approach is calculating by how much the global or sector-specific CO2 intensity needs to be reduced to keep within the 2°C limit. This can refer to CO2 per value-added, for instance.
This required reduction rate, for example -80% by 2050, is then also applicable to each company – again regarding its CO2 intensity, not the absolute emissions.
Convergence again refers to CO2 intensity. This approach is only applicable to sectors that have a homogenous range of products. Here, the method defines a target value for the CO2 emissions per unit of product, that need to be reached by all companies in that sector: For example, for the emissions for producing one ton of steel.
All approaches have their strengths and weaknesses, and may be more suitable for some companies that for others.
You can find more resources here: www.sciencebasedtargets.org
DFGE is happy to support you in the assessment of your science-based targets setting, carbon reduction initiatives, calculation of emissions and related reporting like CDP. For more information, please consult our website or contact us at .