Feeling the heat
Close to 8 years after signing the Paris agreement, the first UN Global Stocktake report has revealed that the world is not on track to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
As a whole, the Stocktake serves as humanity’s “report card” – designed to evaluate worldwide progress on climate action every 5 years to inform countries’ climate plans and investment decisions.
The final phase of this year’s stocktake will wrap up at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, under the scorching heat of the Arabian desert. Country delegates will discuss how to respond to gaps and opportunities identified in the report. COP28 will focus on four areas: transitioning away from fossil fuels, fixing climate finance, focusing on the role of people and their livelihoods, and ensuring full inclusivity.
For the first time, the UN COP28 summit will feature health and climate change prominently with a formal day dedicated to the topic. Air pollution is a major cause of death worldwide, causing an estimated 7 million premature deaths each year (WHO). Yet, just one-third of national climate plans – known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – address air pollution (GCHA).
Air pollutants, including methane and black carbon (a soot-like by-product of incomplete combustion), contribute to climate change and ill health (WHO). Adopting clean air policies such as switching to renewable energy could curb health impacts and costs from issues like asthma and heart disease (GCHA). In addition, street runoff and sewage leaks in growing cities are polluting waterways while improper disposal of household and industrial waste are reducing soil quality in and around cities.
Photo source: Freepik
In Singapore, air pollution mainly comes from industries and motor vehicles. Several opportunities for growth have been identified in the country’s clean energy sector. A Singapore-based solar producer has created one of the world’s largest solar manufacturing complexes. Investing over S$2.5 billion to scale up facilities, the firm expects to produce about 800 megawatts of solar photovoltaic modules (NCCS). At the national scale, Singapore plans deploy enough solar energy to power 350,000 households by 2030 and garner 30% of electricity (4 gigawatts) from low-carbon sources by 2035.
Mitigating climate and pollution risks is crucial for maintaining the health of people, planet and profits. Under PCM ESG Research Objective 1 (Managing ESG Risks), we place emphasis on management action that addresses climate and pollution risk to operations and value chains.
The use of clean energy – such as solar and wind – can reduce reliance on coal and other fossil fuels that contain hazardous pollutants (e.g. sulfur dioxide). In PCM ESG Research Objective 2 (Mitigating Negative Externalities), we support companies that demonstrate a clear transition and a greater dependence on clean energy and processes.
Substantial reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions is needed to keep the 1.5°C goal alive. Through PCM ESG Research Objective 3 (Measuring Positive Change and Impact), we reinforce companies that have clear emissions reductions plans and actively contribute to sustainable outcomes.
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