Mar 18, 2019 08:03 AM EDT
Since the election of President Donald Trump, the trend in US federal policy has been to focus on other areas other than climate change. In the energy industry, however, judging from the agenda at CERAWeek, awareness of the importance of climate change is higher than ever.
The Earth's climate has changed more than once throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years, there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth's orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.
Multiple studies published in scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. Some of the strongest statements, however, came from executives based in Europe, where the focus on climate is as front and center as anywhere else.
Bob Dudley of the oil giant British Petroleum or most commonly known as BP said "we are operating in a world that is not on a sustainable path", and suggested there was a need for "a step change to correct our course" on emissions.
One of the most influential forces driving energy companies to pay attention to climate change is public opinion. Thousands of young people in about 100 countries from Australia to Zimbabwe skip school to join marches urging governments to address the threats. Another factor is pressure from investors. BNP Paribas Asset Management is about to sell about one billion pounds of shares as it divests from thermal coal companies, marking a shift towards nuclear power as that is most likely the direction we are heading. Mark Lewis, the fund manager's head of climate change research, said limiting global warming "really depends on how quickly we get out of coal".
The ever waging war on climate change is not the fight of one nation, nor that of a single world leader. We, as residents of Earth, must ban together and come to an overall consensus on the path we are required to take to ensure a future for the human race and our planet.
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