In the Paris Agreement in 2015, 197 countries agreed to limit warming by the end of the century to “well-below 2°C above preindustrial levels” and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. At the time of writing, we are at ~1.23°C increase vs 1880, as you can see on Sky's temperature tracker here.
This target was chosen because at 1.5°C of warming, we may be able to escape the worst effects of climate change. Indeed, although it may seem small, half a degree can make a world of difference. For example, 2 degrees would mean three times as many people exposed to extreme heatwaves, the loss of all coral reefs, and 60 million more exposed to severe drought. Further differences are outlined in the WWF infographic below:
If we are going to remain within the 'safe' (from a relative standpoint) 1.5°C limit, we therefore have a very limited amount of greenhouse gases, commonly called the 'carbon budget', that we can emit globally, so we must begin decarbonising now. The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI) has done the hard work to translate this destination into quantified climate targets for business.
In brief, to limit warming to 1.5°C, businesses must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 50% (vs. 2018 emissions) by 2030. This may seem daunting, but it is certainly achievable with commitment and effort.
For small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), the task is slightly different than for large corporates. According to SBTI, SMEs must:
The justification for this is that SMEs have more limited resources to influence their supply chains. These goals therefore make it possible for businesses of all sizes to have real climate impact. What's more, if every business takes its Scopes 1 & 2 emissions to net zero, then there are no Scope 3 emissions.
At aklimate, we are enabling businesses of all sizes to join the movement to limit global warming, with our 1.5°C Reduction Pathway, with the following benefits: