The report, launched by Christiana Figueres and global sustainability researcher Johan Rockström, to open the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, concluded that the energy transformation in the next decade could occur much faster than many forecasts as the price of renewables drops low enough to outcompete fossil fuels. But keeping up the pace will require sharper policies to push out fossil fuels. Other sectors, however, are off track.

Disruption is here. Three unstoppable forces are pushing us towards a future of prosperity, growth and clean energy: climate leadership, market forces and the digital revolution,

...says former UN climate head Christiana Figueres, convenor of Mission 2020, a partner in the report.

Under the Paris Agreement of 2015, GHG emissions must fall sharply to stabilise climate well below 2°C and aim for 1.5°C. Emissions peaking in 2020 and approximately halving by about 2030 is consistent with the Paris Agreement’s aim. Meanwhile, particularly for shipping, the IMO's initial strategy on GHG reduction from ships foresees a drop by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008.

The roadmap identifies the accelerators in terms of climate leadership, policy and technology required to scale 30 solutions and concludes that a set of game-changing strategies in the next 18 months are needed to keep up an appropriately fast pace.

These strategies include:

Policy

  • Establish the following fast-track task forces to:
    – Build immediate momentum to remove fossil-fuel subsidies.
    – Incentivise carbon pricing instruments and effective emissions standards in the largest economies.
    – Incentivise policy to catalyse large-scale behavioural change relating to production and consumption (businesses and consumers).
    – Incentivise large-scale reforestation, forest management and agricultural changes to secure sustained resilience of key biomes in an integrated climate action agenda.

Climate Leadership

  • Incentivise rapid adoption of combined digital, circular and sharing economies in the largest economies.
  • Increase ambition:
    – To attract more cities and businesses to climate action movements
    – To set stronger short-term and long-term emissions targets within these movements.
  • Establish executive leadership programmes on global sustainability in the boardrooms of all of the world’s leading companies by 2020.
  • Establish global sustainability programmes on the syllabus of every university course in every country by 2020.

Technology Leadership 

  • Launch an accelerator to align the digital revolution with the goal to halve emissions rapidly. Such an accelerator can:
    – Support development of exponential roadmaps for industries, businesses, cities, regions and nations.
    – Support scale-up of circular economy business models to reduce material and energy use.
    – And, given many decisions and actions are mediated through digital tools, create solutions that remove friction to climate action and make emissions reduction the easy, attractive, default choice for businesses and consumers.
  • Establish a global accelerator network connecting hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs with the common goal of halving emissions every decade or faster. This accelerator should enable unprecedented exchange between accelerators and best practice learning across borders. 8.
  • Establish a global marketplace to invest in, support and scale up the most promising exponential technologies and business models with very significant positive climate impact. Do not exploit technology and business models with negative climate impact

The report highlights that many companies can cut their own emissions faster than 50% every decade – and influence their suppliers to do the same. The next frontier is how companies can influence the consumers of their products and services to support low-carbon operations and lifestyles.

In addition, the digital revolution remains a wildcard, says the report. Technology can directly influence 30% of the emissions cuts needed by about 2030, and indirectly affect the rest through influencing consumer habits, scaling up a sharing economy and supporting business transformation to a circular economy.

How this revolution is directed could make or break international climate targets. The tech sector can influence whether we live on a 1.5-2°C planet or on a +3°C world. Technology will not solve the climate challenge alone. The key is to reach a critical mass of companies, cities, nations, industries and citizens that are contributing to the Paris Agreement and show how attractive this is – this will create the snowball effect we need to scale solutions,

...says Johan Falk co-lead author from Future Earth and the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

The report launch comes after months of unprecedented heat waves, droughts and flooding across the planet that have been linked to human-induced climate change that show even moderate warming can cause global-scale disruption. A new research published in August 2018 shows the risks of crossing the 2°C threshold could be more severe than scientists previously realised.

The report is a collaboration between Future Earth, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Mission 2020, WWF, Ericsson, Internet of Planet and supporting partners Telia Company, Project Drawdown, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Fossil-free Sweden, MapLauncher, Swedish Energy Agency and Storythings. It supports the Step Up Declaration being launched at the summit and Entrepreneurs Declaration launched in advance of the summit.

This goal will not be easy. It is nothing short of a global economic transformation. But transformation appears assured through revolutions driven by digitalisation. Harnessing this power will help drive unstoppable momentum. If successful, we are at the start of one of the most exciting and dramatic changes in human history,

...the report concludes.

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