“Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is not impossible, but will require unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society,” warned Hoesung Lee, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), upon the release of the panel’s report in October 2018.
The IPCC says global net human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions must be reduced to zero by 2050 to keep global warming below 1.5°C. In the absence of such action, the IPCC predicts that the Earth’s temperature will increase to over double this, to 3.2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100, with catastrophic consequences.
Despite images of polar bears’ melting habitats and scorched landscapes from wildfires, the consequences of climate change seem vague and abstract. Many know the effects will be terrible, but policymakers struggle to describe how climate change will change our way of life—and thereby get the world to act.
The efforts under way are not enough. Action needs to be scaled up to meet internationally agreed goals. The Sustainability Summit will bring together industry leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs and researchers from around the world to assess what businesses in particular—but also governments and NGOs—can do to rise to the challenge.