How does a half-degree change in the Earth's temperature cause a big change?

Climate Change started Since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, and the earth’s temperature has been steadily rising. Four years ago, 195 countries signed the 2015 Paris Agreement. The agreement includes restrictions that try to keep global temperatures at no more than 2 degrees Celsius after the Industrial Revolution. But new reports show that a 1.5-degree reduction would be of great benefit.

Look at this island in the Indian Ocean. Rising sea levels will make life on the island impossible.

A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on October 8 – the result of a meeting of relevant scientists in Incheon, South Korea – shows that small-scale climate change will bring about major changes in human life.

One and a half degrees versus two degrees

With this change, people will feel less warm. A half-degree change can lower the average sea level by 10 centimeters. This 10 cm reduction will save at least 10 million people from dangers such as floods and freshwater salinization.

But this is not easy at all. Even the Paris Agreement, which some scholars do not consider sufficient, does not work properly or some countries do not. On June 2, 2017, US President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing from the agreement. The United States is a major source of greenhouse gases. And produces about 17% of the world’s greenhouse gases. Although reducing temperature changes to 1.5 is not impossible, it takes a lot of effort to use clean energy around the world.

Work together to achieve change

Shell Downstream Manager speaks at the Energy Visions virtual event, stressing the importance of working in different departments to achieve sustainable change.

Thanks for introducing Aitor and all of you for joining this event… either online or in the studio… even if you are currently watching or may join us a little later. In fact, different events and their solutions show me how innovative, determined and versatile society can be when so many things are at stake. Even if we face serious challenges like Covid-19 or climate change… we know we still need to talk to each other, work together and find the best ways to act.

The EU Green Agreement is a great example of what the world needs to do to tackle climate change. Shell supports its goal of achieving the treaty’s goals by 2050. The goal is to find ways to avoid adding to greenhouse gas emissions in the next few decades – in other words, to achieve zero percent greenhouse gas emissions, which is happening very quickly.

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Image Credit: The Third Pole

Last week, EU President Von Der Leyen announced an increase in the EU’s 2030 target for combating climate change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55%. This is a big challenge… but Shell supports it. The 55 per cent target sets the EU on a clear path towards climate change. It also provides long-term business investment in low-carbon projects.

In practice, achieving this goal requires decisive political action. It will take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more rapidly simultaneously in all sectors and to support the EU’s industrial competition. And this is where the “economic reconstruction” document plays a key role. The EU’s greenhouse gas trading system also needs to be reformed. Industry in the EU must be competitive in terms of carbon costs. In the case of carbon monoxide depletion, there must be a huge increase in speed and reduction.

Finally, a participatory approach (a combination of policies and actions) is crucial to success and must be at the heart of the Green Pact. This approach is about setting a zero percent release path for each segment – and I’ll explain how later. This challenge may be great, but the Green Pact is one way to turn ambitious plans into immediate action.

And we all need to take immediate action. Shell’s dream is to launch a greenhouse-free business by 2050 or sooner, in line with community and customers. We will work on this in three ways. First, our goal is to produce products “with a percentage of travel emissions.” Second, we seek to reduce the impact of carbon on the products we sell. That means selling more hydrogen, more biofuels, more renewable electricity. Finally, as an energy supplier, we will work with energy-intensive sectors, such as aviation and transportation. We will help them find their “zero percent release” path. And this is the “sector approach” that I will refer to.

Our ambition means working with others in a way and on a scale we have never seen before. And our business plans today do not make shell ambition a reality. Over time, these programs need to change, because so does our community and our customers.

So demand is key, and politics is what matters. In Germany, for example, at our Rhineland refinery, Shell and his partners are building the world’s largest PEM electrolyzer to produce hydrogen using renewable energy. This so-called “green hydrogen” production is an important step in testing the feasibility of a large-scale, industrial hydrogen network. Hydrogen is not only used in chemical processing in the environment, but in the future it can also be used in cars and trucks in the retail sector. We have the infrastructure, the system and the people to do this, but we need the right policies to encourage demand.

This reason for the complex dynamics, Shell focuses on the “sector approach”. In short, this approach means working with others to synchronize demand for low-carbon energy in key sectors by investing in infrastructure and supply. It aims to balance supply and demand. And this is especially important in areas that are very difficult to reach. Sectors such as road transport and industry are both shown here today, either air transport or heavy transport.

The work you have supported in the “partial approach” is very encouraging. I hope it can become a guiding principle for the implementation of the Green Pact, because it ensures that every important sector of the economy has a clear path to “zero emissions”.

And while the actions required will be different in each sector, I believe they all have three similar ways to progress. First, improve energy efficiency. Second, look for low carbon products. Third, the compensation or storage of greenhouse gases that can not be avoided.

The businesses that make up each department need to come together and learn how to take action in any area that leads to a zero percent release. They need to get to the point where they can say, “This is the zero-zero path,” and these are the things that can stop it. And that’s what we need to succeed.