A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted, once again, the urgency to addressing greenhouse gas emissions.  

The average global temperature has risen faster since 1970 than any other prior period, and now stands 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than at the start of the industrial age. Despite this, global energy-related CO2 emissions reached a new high of 36.8 Gt in 2022. 

The Intergovernmental Panel Report concludes that current levels of warming are threatening food and water security and notes that, “impacts on some ecosystems are approaching irreversibility.”  

The clock is ticking. 

With the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, almost every nation agreed to “pursue efforts” to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Beyond that point, scientists predict severe impacts including droughts, heatwaves, and heavy rains. To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, GHGs must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline by 43% by 2030. Those are ambitious deadlines and targets. 

Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres says that nations need to work together to “defuse the climate time bomb.” 

But how? 

The solutions are already well known. Expanding renewable energy sources while dramatically reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, reducing food waste, lowering nitrogen pollution from agriculture, making cities more friendly for bikes and walkers. 

And energy efficiency.  

That’s where SHIFT Energy helps on the climate transition. Building operations account for nearly 30 percent of GHG emissions globally, with heating and cooling responsible for much of these emissions. An estimated 2/3 of buildings that will exist in 2040 are already built today. That makes improving energy efficiency in existing buildings vital to achieving our collective global warming targets.  

Improving the energy performance of building HVAC systems actually delivers twin benefits: it cuts energy costs and reduces carbon emissions. 

The challenge, of course, is to achieve these benefits in ways that don’t add complexity, cost or new carbon. SHIFT does this by working with existing Building Automation Systems (BAS) and HVAC equipment to optimize performance. It’s a low cost, high impact way to address emissions from existing building stock. This kind of approach is vital if we hope to limit the worst effects from climate change. 

Despite growing emissions levels, the Intergovernmental Panel says there is still a chance to achieve our collective goals if we can work together to cut GHGs almost in half by 2030 and stop adding CO2 to atmosphere entirely by the early 2050s. That will require decisive action. Even then, our odds of holding the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius are only pegged at 50 percent. 

But with what is at stake, do we have any real choice?