A Ticking Clock for the Environment

A group of scientists and leaders has issued an alarming statement: Our world has three years left to reverse the trajectory of climate change.  Beyond 2020, they say, it may no longer be physically possible to reverse the effects of global warming no matter what we do.

The lead author is Christiana Figueres, vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.  (Figueres led the UN negotiations that resulted in the Paris climate agreement.)  The document is co-signed by more than 50 scientists, politicians and business leaders.

The group’s timeframe is based on simple math.  The world can afford to generate 600 billion more tons of carbon dioxide without exceeding the Paris warming target of 2˚C (3.6˚F).  With our current emission rate of 41 billion tons a year, we will hit this limit in 15 years.  But because the rate must be stopped as well as reversed, we need to change the trajectory immediately.

The group outline six goals for the year 2020:

  • Renewables make up 30 percent of the world’s electricity supply
  • Cities and states enact plans to decarbonize buildings/infrastructures by 2050
  • Electric vehicles make up 15 percent of new car sales
  • Policies shift deforestation to reforestation
  • Industry enacts plans to cut carbon emissions in half by 2050
  • Governments deploy $1 trillion per year for climate action

As a company focused on inspiring scientific discovery, Agilent recognizes the wide-ranging implications of climate change.  We have a dedicated focus on sustainability for our products and our operations.  We continue to aggressively push forward on energy efficiency, with clean and renewable energy projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote environmental responsibility.  We recently released our Corporate Citizenship Report for the year 2016.  Among the highlights:

  • We achieved our 2016 goal of diverting 89 percent of our waste stream away from landfills
  • We exceeded our water reduction goal by 12 percent (achieved 14 percent reduction against a goal of 2 percent)
  • We had the third-lowest energy use overall among peer companies, with the lowest energy intensity when adjusted for revenue and employees (per TruCost)
  • We also worked with TruCost to assess greenhouse emissions across our value chain, to enhance reporting

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