Ambitiously stay the course

The right response of corporations to the IPCC report

The recently released IPCC report on climate change received more attention in politics and media than previous times. The latest consensus global science is in the report. The panel itself does not conduct research or make policy recommendations (decisions will come at the end of the year in Glasgow).

Yet, as always, there is criticism. Some find the report too moderate, others alarmist from the climate cartel. In the “Summary Document for Policy Makers,” diplomats negotiate the cautionary scientific appendices. Oil producers like Saudi Arabia then put every sentence under the magnifying glass. I can relate: from 2009 to 2013 I was the (first) Climate Envoy for the Netherlands. Fossil Netherlands always reacts furiously. Even though the group of politicians, media and lobby groups is now so small that it can almost be put in Teylers and Naturalis, their kettle music can still be heard. The IPCC’s finding that humans are unequivocally responsible for the unprecedented records in heat, floods, forest fires and melting of land ice in recent decades is dismissed as the vagaries of Mother Nature.

Business is moving to remove carbon dioxide CO2 and other greenhouse gases such as H2O, CH4 and N2O from the core of its business process. A circular approach (less primary raw materials, no losses during the production process and waste as secondary raw material) makes it realistic that even energy companies are going for ambitious targets: halving by 2030 and total phase-out by 2050. For the latter, absorption of CO2 in trees and crops and storage in empty natural gas fields will be unavoidable.

“Just do it”, is the response of VNO-NCW. The Netherlands can show the world how we excel in disciplines, just like with the Olympic Games. A waste of time if the IPCC report leads to a new round of negotiations. The NOS’ tour of major companies to ask about new plans invariably produces a reference to the ambitious Climate Accord and the Green Deal. The court rulings could be added to that. All sectors – industry, energy, construction, transport and agriculture – will have to follow through with concrete interpretation and implementation.