If you were asked what the key takeaway from COP27 was, the answer would probably be that we have a great deal to do. After two weeks of intensive debate, ending two days later than expected, the draft conclusions are out.
After a 30-year struggle, the headline achievement was an agreement to establish loss and damage finance for those countries on the frontline of climate change.
The 1.5-degree challenge remains intact, though how we're to achieve this in the timescale needed will need drastic action.
The UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Simon Stiell, in his closing remarks noted, "We now have only seven COP sessions ahead of us before 2030. We must focus on 2030 and then work back from there... Every single milestone matters and builds momentum."
There were other positive developments coming out from the days of intense debate. The Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition (CEET) met for the first time. This high-level body of engineers and energy system experts was set up in September 2021 to help build a coalition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The first of the Council's three key approaches to achieving a net-zero energy system closely echoes the work we're doing in this area:
"Reducing the energy intensity of economies with policies and measures that leverage technologies, data, and digitalization, in particular by supporting energy efficiency to reduce operating costs, improve energy security, and quickly reduce emissions."
And, it wasn't just at COP27 that optimistic voices were being heard. Alongside it, the World Climate Summit (WCS) took place, with Spirax Sarco attending once more. The delegates here echoed McKinsey’s view of the private sector leaders at COP27, as having a “…mindset of “let’s get it done,” even if precise measurements and outcomes are not yet exactly clear.” (McKinsey)
Amanda Williams, Head of Sustainability - Steam Specialties, joined the panel discussion focusing on the decarbonisation of heavy industry.
Introduced by Mark Campanale (founder of Carbon Tracker Initiative), he noted that when starting out in the City some 30 years ago at a green investment fund, Spirax Sarco was one of their first investment holdings, and had been a great success.
Echoing our longstanding commitment to improving energy efficiency, Mark raised how this is always at the top of the McKinsey Cost Curve on possible carbon abatement measures. This is still a crucial area, Amanda agreed but also pointed to the increasing number of customers who were asking Spirax Sarco to help with decarbonising their industrial heat processes.
Going on to outline some of the innovations in the pipeline, Amanda went on to discuss how we are decarbonising our own facilities by using these emerging technologies.
Beyond the panel discussion, Spirax Sarco also hosted a workshop on decarbonising process industries. This saw representatives from Sidpec, an Egyptian ethylene producer, and Beyti, one of Egypt's largest dairy producers, detail how they're actively decarbonising their operations by partnering with Spirax Sarco.
In a wide-ranging review, the need to effectively manage steam demand, the potential for green hydrogen, and the exciting developments for the electrification of steam supply were all considered.
Society now has very limited time to reach that 1.5° goal. The IPCC predicts that we could pass it in the early 2030s¹ (depending on emissions and a range of climate factors). All eyes will be on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for COP28 next year, and, if the determination of the businesses and investors we met at the WCS is reflected there, that target may still just be within reach.
You can watch the workshop session on our YouTube channel, and the panel discussion on the World Climate Summit’s ‘on demand’ section.
When it comes to safeguarding our planet’s future, time is running out.
It's one thing to promise the earth, but when it comes to climate change commitments, it's essential to deliver too. That's why, in 2021, we joined the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to help us on our journey towards net zero.
Bringing over 18 years of experience with her, Amanda is the Strategic Initiative Lead for the Group Biodiversity initiative and Strategic Project Lead for the Group Developing Sustainability Knowledge project.
At last year’s World Climate Summit, held in Glasgow alongside COP26, Spirax Sarco’s Rachel Pallett (Business Development Director, Steam Specialities) joined the panel Investing in the Clean Energy Innovations of Tomorrow.
Whilst we are becoming more and more aware of the impact of climate change on our environment and its inhabitants, we're also conscious of the effects our business activities have too.
As part of Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc, our One Planet strategy is our commitment to sustainability as well as our roadmap to building a more sustainable future.Read our strategy