3 Bits – Progress and Pragmatism

3 Bits periodically provides three bite-sized items of interest about climate news.

1. Naturally Good

Natural Habitat Adventures reported on the 13 conservation success stories of 2022. Here are three of interest. A) Bristol Bay, AK, the largest natural salmon fishery, appears to have saved from the Pepple Mine’s planned development scheme due to the efforts of Native landowners, the EPA, and others to permanently protect the bay and surrounding wetlands. B) Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe coordinated to conduct the first transboundary Elephant population survey to gather more accurate information on the106-million-acre Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area in order to better protect the pachyderms living there. C) The worldwide tiger worldwide has increased by +40% since 2015 due to the coordinated efforts of governments, non-profit organizations, and locals. In Nepal, the tiger population nearly tripled to 355 since 2009. (Source: Natural Habitat Adventures)

2. The Unvarnished Truth

The Boston Consulting Group observed that the transition to coal took approximately five decades and the transition from coal to oil took more than three decades, and that we would  need renewable energy sources to reach a level of 70% of total energy consumption in order to avoid having temperatures of 1.5 degrees C above preindustrial levels and thus avoid disastrous global warming. By their estimate, it will take at least 30 years to achieve that transition, a nearly impossible task. As BCG states “…current policies would permit warming to +2.7°C by 2100. And the speed of the energy transition in sectors such as industrial manufacturing and buildings is woefully insufficient.” Rapid and massive investments in low carbon energy sources is critical. While this is not a very optimistic view of the future, it is applauded for being sober and stripped of hyperbole. (Source: Blueprint for the Energy Transition | BCG)

3. Emerging Pragmatism

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) points out that the 2021 fantastical net zero pledges by global companies (in advance of the UN climate summit) has been replaced by the drum beat of transition plans, described as specific, templated action plans that companies can take to replace the current lofty platitudes. A structured approach, recently published by U.K.’s Transition Plan Task Force, provides sector-specific guidelines that align with International Sustainability Standards Board climate standards. The WSJ states that “While over two third of companies in U.K.’s FTSE all-share index have published net-zero targets, less than 20% have detailed transition plans.” While there is a long way to go, and, given the current global uncertainty and high interest rates, this may prove to be another daunting task – but it is step in the right direction. (Source: Transition Plans Are The Latest Climate Action Trend – WSJ)