NEW YORK: April 22, 2016. As representatives from over 170 countries gathered at the United Nations to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement, global brands including IKEA, Mars, PG&E, Salesforce, General Mills, Kellogg Company, HP, Unilever and Starbucks have called on U.S. leaders to invest in a low-carbon economy to boost investor confidence worldwide.
“The Paris Agreement represents a turning point for business. It is the beginning of the long-term framework needed for business to transform their operations and invest in low carbon products and services for the future,” said Steve Howard, IKEA’s chief sustainability officer. “Now it is time to translate this framework into clear policies and actions. At IKEA, we are committed to do our part. By 2020 we will produce as much renewable energy as the energy we consume in our own operations.”
Noticeably absent from the list of 110 companies that have declared a commitment to a low-carbon future are members of the logistics industry.
The U.N. signing follows a report by the World Meteorological Association (WMO) saying results from the first three months of 2016 have “overshadowed even the record-breaking year of 2015” according to WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas: “The magnitude of the changes has been a surprise even for veteran climate scientists. The state of the planet is changing before our eyes,” he added. “If the international community acts immediately to halt the rise in CO2 emissions, we can still hope to stabilize global warming over the coming decades. If not, the negative consequences will last for tens of thousands of years,” Taalas declared.
The WMO says the first three months of 2016 have already broken temperature records by the biggest margin ever measured according to preliminary data from the U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (right), NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Other climate change indicators include concentrations of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere reached 403.28 parts per million in February; in March the maximum extent of Arctic sea ice was the lowest on record for the second straight year; an unusually early and large Greenland ice sheet melt occurred in March, a month earlier than the previous record when over 10 percent of the ice sheet melted: “We had to check that our models were still working properly,” commented the Danish Meteorological Institute.
Because of warming temperatures, ice breakup in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska was unusually early and Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef is now reported to be 85 percent ‘bleached’ – which if not reversed will lead to the death of the Reef.
Meanwhile drought triggered by El Niño caused widespread food insecurity and power shortages in parts of Africa, while Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay suffered serious flooding during the first three months of 2016.