One Journey We Can No Longer Afford To Put Off

For any who still doubt the reality of climate change, one need only look at temperatures. 2023 is well on its way to becoming the hottest year on record — that is, until next year when our continued emissions of greenhouse gases — unabated, despite promises to the contrary — push the thermometer even higher. The continued warming, which has already raised Earth’s temperature more than a degree Celsius above its pre-industrial level, has led to prolonged heatwaves, droughts, flooding, wildfires, and epic storms as well as the loss of life and livelihood.

We have set target after target on how much must be cut, and now — six years away from our first major deadline on emissions reduction — it’s time to start fulfilling those commitments.

That’s why we have dedicated this year’s journal, Energy's Countdown to 2030, to the specifics of what companies should do or are actually doing to cut emissions. We have calculated how much must be invested in various segments of our industry to achieve the halving of our emissions by 2030 that nations pledged in the 2015 Paris Agreement and at several climate summits thereafter.

The conclusions of many of these commentaries arrive at the same place: Industries must work together to attract sufficient capital and mitigate some of the risks. Maybe it’s automakers forming alliances with steel producers and energy companies to create green steel. Maybe it’s plastics manufacturers teaming up with beverage companies and other large plastics customers to develop chemical recycling that ends our reliance on single-use plastics.

Given that the price tags are very often in the trillions, one of the keys will be our industry’s ability to attract adequate funds to pull off the energy transition. That means working closely with the banking industry as well as venture capital and private equity to guarantee the most efficient and effective projects get the green light and are then pursued to completion.

One of the top priorities will be ensuring sufficient renewable energy and modernization of the grid to accommodate the expansion in green power. We cannot discuss hydrogen development or the electrification of transportation without confidence that there will be enough renewable energy available so that we don’t have to fill in gaps with coal or natural gas.

The dire consequences of Earth’s temperature rising above two degrees Celsius makes our success not an option, but rather a necessity. We hope you will gather new insights from the journal and join us as we push forward to 2030.

Very best regards,

Francois Austin

Partner, Global Head of Energy and Natural Resources, and Co-Head of the Global Climate and Sustainability Platform