Private sector slowly tuning in to green targets

Every now and then, media, celebrities, and policymakers remember that climate change is real.

Published: 25th September 2019 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th September 2019 02:45 AM   |  A+A-

Every now and then, media, celebrities, and policymakers remember that climate change is real. There are frenzied discussions, protests, and meetings of world leaders at exotic locales—all of which contribute to huge carbon emissions. After a few days, the issue is forgotten, only to be rekindled after a few months. Speaking at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed that “the time for talking” is over. What is required, he said, is affirmative action.

The PM’s statement effectively summarises intergovernmental actions taken on climate change till date. Since the Kyoto Protocol was signed way back in 1997, nations have only been negotiating treaties to deal with imminent change in climatic patterns.  Precious little has been done on the ground.

While some nations, including India, have unilaterally taken steps to cut their carbon footprint, progress has been limited. A glimmer of hope, however, has been offered by the private sector, which sees climate-friendly solutions as a potential market. The IAA 2019 saw a never-before thrust for electric and hybrid cars and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions, both of which are relatively sustainable options. A recent report by multinational investment bank UBS says the world’s wealthiest families now consider climate change as the ‘single-greatest threat to the world’. This, the report believes, will drive their decisions on investment.

That doesn’t mean all is rosy in the private sector. A recent analysis published in the Guardian claims more than four-fifths of the world’s largest companies are unlikely to meet targets set out in the Paris climate agreement by 2050. The writing on the wall is clear. While high-profile summits are welcome, the private sector should step up its game to meet green targets. Increasing awareness and consumer demand will drive the private sector to focus on sustainable solutions going forward.


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