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In the face of an escalating climate crisis, disaster looms over humanity, and time is slipping away for us to alter the planet's future trajectory. The objective is unambiguous: we must keep global temperatures below a 1.5˚C increase. Failing to do so will exacerbate the already severe catastrophes witnessed in recent years.


Indeed, by September 2023, the world experienced a 1.5˚C rise in temperature, and within two months, this escalated to a 2˚C increase from pre-industrial levels. This warming is attributed to several factors, including El Niño and diminishing sea ice, but the primary culprit is unequivocally climate change.

Transitioning to a low-carbon economy is not just imperative; it's a matter of survival. Understanding emission sources and optimizing resource use are critical first steps. This process demands transparency and accountability from countries, public institutions, and private companies alike. Currently, nature's costs are overlooked, leading to a distorted sense of security. As Paula DiPerna, author of "Pricing the Priceless," puts it, "If you could avoid paying your workers, your financials would appear much healthier. Similarly, we're avoiding paying nature, the ultimate worker."

The three largest hard-to-abate sectors alone emit over 6 Gigatonnes annually. In response, SINAI Technologies (know more) offers enterprise software that aids carbon-intensive industries in transforming net-zero ambitions into actionable decarbonization plans. This involves measuring, analyzing, pricing, and reducing carbon emissions efficiently. Recent studies, including one by PWC, show that 27% of Brazilian companies have committed to net-zero goals, surpassing the global average of 22%.

Another critical issue is the use of natural resources, particularly in building construction, which contributes significantly to carbon dioxide emissions. Direct emissions account for 8% of global totals, but indirect emissions triple this impact.

By 2060, urban environments are expected to double, equating to the construction of a New York or four Buenos Aires cities every month. The production of building materials alone is projected to release approximately 250 gigatons of "embodied carbon." Pathways (know more) is at the forefront with its AI-enabled technology, streamlining the creation of Life Cycle Analyses (LCAs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for manufacturers. This innovation is crucial in North America, where new buildings are increasingly constructed with low-carbon materials.

Retrofitting the world's existing buildings poses an immense challenge as well, necessitating the mobilization of millions of property owners. However, governments are starting to recognize and tackle this urgent need. Fram Energy (know more) is leading the charge by making it financially advantageous for property owners to decarbonize rental properties.

Accelerating the transition to renewable energies is essential, and a clean electric grid is central to this effort. Solar power achieved a global installation record in 2022, thanks to favorable government policies, increased utility adoption, and the economic benefits recognized by homeowners. Ruuf (know more) is a key player in the solar energy revolution in Latin America, beginning in Chile. They facilitate connections between homeowners, solar installers, and banks, making it financially appealing to adopt green energy.

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While solar panels have been a long-standing solution to reducing CO2 emissions, emerging technologies in other sectors also show promise in combating climate change. Precision fermentation is one of them and is revolutionizing the food industry. Ten Lives (know more), a leading company in this space, merges machine learning with precision fermentation to tackle the climate emergency by decarbonizing pet food with AI. The meat consumption of cats and dogs in the US alone is equivalent to that of Texas's entire human population, representing about 25% of the country's total meat consumption.

Addressing waste production is another critical aspect of transitioning to a low-carbon economy. For instance, plastic production accounts for at least 3% of global greenhouse emissions. In Brazil, the National Solid Waste Policy mandates companies to recycle a minimum of 22% of their environmental liabilities. Eureciclo (know more), leveraging this law, aims to boost Brazil's recycling rate to 45% by employing blockchain technology for transparent recycling tracking and facilitating a marketplace for recycling credit exchange in Latin America.

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While measuring, compensating, and avoiding carbon emissions are vital steps to maintain global temperatures below a 1.5˚C increase, we must also strive to capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The World Economic Forum estimates that $44tn of economic value (over half of the global GDP) depends moderately or highly on nature, through services like water retention and carbon sequestration.

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Aerial Forest Shot

Natural systems such as soils, forests, grasslands, and oceans, acting as "carbon sinks," are crucial for stabilizing the global climate. An estimated $11 trillion investment in the natural environment is necessary to mitigate temperature rises. Pachama (know more) leads in restoring nature and removing carbon at scale, using satellite data and AI to help companies confidently invest in high-quality carbon credits.

While carbon dioxide (CO2) often dominates climate change discussions, other greenhouse gases like methane, nitrous oxide, and 'F-gases' play significant roles in global warming. Methane, making up nearly 18% of total greenhouse gas emissions, has increased rapidly, about four times faster than CO2 emissions. Notably, the top methane emitters include China, India, the USA, Brazil, and Russia, as reported by the IPCC.

Methane's impact on climate change is influenced by its shorter atmospheric lifespan of around 12 years compared to CO2's centuries-long presence, and its higher energy absorption potency. Despite its shorter lifespan, methane is responsible for at least 25% of current global warming due to human activities. While efforts have predominantly targeted CO2 reduction, methane has received less attention, with less than 2% of climate funding aimed at mitigating its impact. In this context, companies like Windfall Bio (know more) are stepping up, offering innovative solutions by naturally transforming harmful methane into organic fertilizer, addressing this critical but often overlooked aspect of climate change.

By taking vast amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and storing it, natural systems such as soils, forests, grasslands, and oceans act as “carbon sinks” that are essential to stabilizing the world’s climate. Given the accelerating rate of nature loss, the WEF’s figure is alarming. Scientists say that, unless measures are taken to slow the drivers of biodiversity loss, many of the roughly 1mn animal and plant species currently threatened by extinction will disappear within decades. 

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If losses in nature (the natural world) and biodiversity (the variation in that world) pose a dire threat to humanity, they also present risks to business and finance, both through companies’ impact on natural resources and their direct or indirect dependency on them. Companies like Funga are intervening, utilizing the forest fungal microbiome to not only improve forestry outcomes in the face of the climate crisis but also to enhance microbial biodiversity. Their approach involves inoculating degraded ecosystems with a diverse mix of fungi and microbes, promoting faster tree growth, increased carbon biomass, and the restoration of resilient, biodiverse forests.

As we navigate the urgent climate crisis, the transformative initiatives showcased here provide a beacon of hope. Through groundbreaking strategies in reducing emissions, revolutionizing energy use, and restoring ecosystems, we see a path forward. These efforts exemplify the remarkable potential for innovation and collaboration to forge a sustainable, thriving future for our planet. The journey ahead is challenging, but with continued commitment and ingenuity, a healthier, more resilient world is within our reach.

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