Can Industry Fight Climate Change?

Can Industry Fight Climate Change?

Industrial Effect on Climate Change 


A recent study offers an optimistic outlook concerning industrial effects on climate change:  the potential of using heavy industry to combat climate change. Industrial sectors associated with chemicals, cement, aluminium and steel face massive challenges in cutting carbon emissions, which consequently affects the atmosphere surrounding our planet. These materials account for nearly a third of total global carbon dioxide emissions, which is predicted to increase in the near future. However, this new report concludes that it is practical, and apparently affordable, to reduce emissions of said materials down to virtually 0, by the middle of the 22nd century.

The producers of the report, Energy Transitions Commission (ETC), state that it is possible to eradicate industrial emissions at a cost of less than 1% of global Gross Domestic Product, producing a marginal impact on living standards. The ETC is a coalition of business, finance and political leaders consisting of energy producers and users, who support the goal of the 2015 Paris climate deal regarding the limitation of global warming to 1.5C, or below 2C at the bare minimum. Said coalition sees the benefits to society as a whole; cutting industrial emissions because the world would save unnecessary spending associated with pollution and climate change effects. There would be evidence of economic growth due to technological innovation and an increase in resource production. It has been established that this approach would definitely require major improvements in energy conservation and efficiency across the entire global economy. If the usage of wind and solar energy increases, improvements in energy sustainability will be apparent.

The reports suggests a few improvements in working towards the decarbonisation of the industrial sectors mentioned earlier. Firstly, the report states that greater energy efficiency would boost progress in the 2020s, whilst more technological advances are being made. Secondly, demand management can be utilized to reduce the demand for carbon intensive products, by virtue of smarter design. Lastly, carbon harnessing and storage can be implemented for emissions which cannot be avoided by certain industries.

In today’s world there appears to be a lack of acknowledgement of the effects of climate change, resulting in a lack of emergency towards reducing carbon emissions. A vast number of people currently choose to overlook the drastic impact of emissions on the atmosphere and ignore the importance of the issue. Climate change significantly impacts the Earth and plays a great role in the existence of life on Earth, thus we should all accept the issue and aim to deal with its consequences, working towards, potentially, defeating climate change.