SBTi raises the bar on climate ambition from 2°C to 1.5°C

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2021-07-19 08:23:06 – United Kingdom

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a global organization that enables businesses to establish emissions reduction targets based on climate science, is announcing a new approach to boost corporate target setting minimum ambition from "far below 2°C" to "1.5°C" over pre-industrial levels.

The new approach is being implemented in response to the growing urgency of climate action and the historical effectiveness of science-based objectives. The news comes ahead of the IPCC's Working Group I Contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report, which is scheduled to be issued on August 9th.

Science-based target-setting has grown from a fledgling idea in 2015 to a worldwide movement encompassing over 20% of the global economy. According to new statistics, science-based objectives are driving corporate decarbonization: between 2015 and 2020, firms with verified targets decreased emissions by 25%, while worldwide energy and industrial emissions increased by 3.4%.

Lila Karbassi, SBTi Board Chair and Chief of Programmes at UN Global Compact, said that the SBTi has become the de facto standard for corporations to establish realistic objectives to solve the climate crisis. However, if they are to have a chance of staying below 1.5°C, they must accelerate and mainstream the adoption of 1.5°C-aligned objectives. This method enables them to continually deliver the most rigorous target-setting framework to businesses throughout the world, allowing them to securely align with climate science.

1.5°C-aligned objectives are currently the most popular option for companies, accounting for 66% of all SBTi submissions in 2021. Since the SBTi's Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign started in June 2019 in response to the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C, more than 600 firms from around the world have committed to the greatest 1.5°C-aligned ambition. These firms have a market value of $13 trillion, which is just slightly less than China's GDP.

Selwin Hart, Special Adviser and Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Action at the United Nations said that to keep the 1.5 degrees objective of the Paris Agreement within reach, they need all hands on deck. Increasing the initiative's ambition level is a step in the right direction, and it gives companies much-needed clarity on how to set viable emissions reduction targets in accordance with this goal. 

Hart added that this project is assisting corporations in setting climate science-linked targets to help avert the worst consequences of the climate catastrophe on people all around the globe by updating and improving its criteria. He strongly encourages every company that has yet to establish goals to do so and to back up their 1.5°C targets with clear and credible strategies to accomplish them.

The SBTi will focus on driving exponential growth in 1.5°C aligned science-based objectives adoption and implementation, notably from corporations in high-emitting industries and across G20 countries.

The new strategy calls for the implementation of new governance and operational models to bolster the SBTi's technical authority while also allowing for a more organized and flexible project management approach to promote efficient, effective, and exponential growth. This will feature a new and independent technical decision-making body that will assist assure the robustness of important technical choices such as scenario selection, target setting methodologies, and the acceptance of new and revised standards.

Alberto Carrillo Pineda, a co-founder of the SBTi, has been named Managing Director to lead the new strategy and operational model. He said that COVID-19 and climate collapse are the two greatest threats to existence as we know it. Without widespread global action, we won't be able to tackle either problem. To help them halve global emissions in the next 8 years, they need every firm to do its bit and set science-based 1.5°C-aligned emission reduction targets.

Scope 1 and 2 objectives that are well below 2°C will eventually be taken out of the target validation framework for businesses and financial institutions. Companies who had objectives approved in 2020 or before will have until 2025 to revise them, according to the existing SBTi standards. Companies who were approved after that date must evaluate and revise their objectives every 5 years at the very least.

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