Anyone who bakes will know all about tipping points. As you attempt to balance an old fashioned scale, you must be careful to match the weights on one side to the amount of flour added to the other. Too much flour and the scale, thrown off balance, will suddenly drop. But if you match the weights just right, the two sides will hover in a perfect symmetry. Although the consequences are – quite clearly – significantly harder to reverse, the same logic is true of the climate
As we emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we threaten the balance of the natural world. Already we are experiencing irregular rainfall patterns, increasingly frequent extreme weather events and rising sea levels. Yet nature’s ‘scales’ are still hanging in there; our actions have not yet pushed us over all the earth’s major tipping points and into the realms of irreversible environmental breakdown.
But we cannot be complacent. With temperatures already 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, any balance we currently enjoy is precarious. We must return our ‘scales’ to a point of stability and this requires action from governments, businesses and individuals this decade.
What should action look like?
There is a broad and growing consensus that rapid decarbonisation is needed to help reach net-zero emissions by 2050. However, this does not mean we make changes in 2050; it means we take substantial actions to reduce and mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions now and without delay.
The scale of this challenge is enormous. We need to cut emissions by 58% if we are to achieve our global climate targets by 2050. That’s a shift from 51 to 21 gigatonnes per annum. This is no small feat, but we have tools and technologies available now that can help us make these reductions.
One such tool is the voluntary carbon market. It is an effective means to reduce net carbon emissions by driving finance to projects that deliver independently verified emissions reductions, while at the same time helping companies to achieve ambitious climate goals. Indeed, purchasing high quality carbon credits, in accordance with The Mitigation Hierarchy, can complement a company’s internal processes to reduce emissions and offset any currently unavoidable emissions.
Yet however well a company engages with the voluntary carbon market, it must remember that global emissions reductions cannot be achieved unless we simultaneously tackle the nature loss crisis. It is widely agreed by environmental experts that we are witnessing the earth’s sixth mass extinction event in which an extremely high proportion of biodiversity is lost. This is caused, in part, by deforestation which currently occurs at a rate of 10 million hectares per year. That’s equivalent to the entire landmass of Iceland!
This is a serious threat, not only to biodiversity, but also to global climate change mitigation efforts. Earth’s natural ecosystems absorb roughly a quarter of CO2e emissions from the atmosphere, thus protecting us from the worst impacts of our own carbon-intensive activities. Put simply, we need nature to prevent us from exceeding our global tipping points and starting negative feedback loops – such as the melting of permafrost – that can be impossible to reverse.
We cannot expect the natural world to provide this essential mitigation without our care and investment; we need to channel private finance to fund its protection. On this, verified carbon credits have proved to be highly effective.
How we support decarbonisation
This may surprise you, but we would like to see a global tipping point exceeded. We know what you’re thinking, and no, we do not mean environmentally! As an impact-driven carbon finance business, we would like to reach a point where corporations cannot conceive of not taking climate action. This means adding more and more high-quality climate solutions to the ‘scales’ until they tip firmly to the side of action, catalysing irreversible behavioural changes for businesses worldwide.
In this way, we are committed to scaling the voluntary carbon market with integrity. Our high-quality carbon credits allow corporations and financial institutions to mitigate their environmental impact. Their investments are channelled into predominantly nature-based climate solutions and ensure long-term relationships with trusted carbon project developers.
As our CEO, Ana Haurie, explains in this short video, our value proposition is three-fold:
- We use our balance sheet to support project developers through long-term offtake agreements. This provides projects with the resources they need to expand and gives buyers the ability to lock-in future prices, building business resilience.
- We give our buyers assured access to high-quality carbon credits in bespoke portfolios with tailored reporting to meet their sustainability and ESG commitments.
- We help investors to mitigate rising carbon prices and, at the same, realise genuine, measurable ESG impacts.
We are an accredited, serious team, combining a 30+ year track record in global financial markets with a deep understanding of carbon project development in leading international conservation organisations. Our collective expertise enabled us to underwrite 11 million tonnes of high quality carbon credits in 2021 and partner with an array of innovative, dedicated carbon project developers globally.
We must not fall into an inescapable trap; we need governments and businesses to step up and set a positive precedent for climate action through support of the voluntary carbon market. Either way, we will reach a tipping point, but it’s up to us to ensure it is behavioural, not environmental.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see more videos from our team and learn about our flagship portfolio projects: https://www.youtube.com/@respirainternational