Climate Action – Solutions Needed

Last month, the COP26 summit in Glasgow finished, and while the politics of the summit and its results can be debated, the event put the need for climate action at the forefront of the world stage again. Arguably, one of the biggest outcomes was the push for a reduction in global carbon emissions, which led to the historic agreement to begin phasing out coal-fired power stations – one of the biggest emitting processes on the planet.

Anthropogenic carbon emissions, the generation of various forms of carbon due to human activity, is the leading contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions and the escalation in climate change. So, what does carbon emission look like on a per person basis? Here in Australia and New Zealand, we contribute 13.6 tonnes of CO2 per person per year, ranking us 5th in the world. That sounds like a lot (and it is), but we only contribute 1% to the total global output. China, USA, and India (the top 3 emitting nations) account for nearly half of all global CO2 emissions – a staggering amount under any metric. All of this equates to over 34 billion tonnes of CO2 emitted every year, all needing to be reduced, removed, or mitigated somehow to impact climate change in a positive means across the globe.

USD$50 Trillion Business Potential

Recognising that you have a problem is the first step to solving it. The Glasgow U.N. Climate Change Conference did that to some extent, and several nations made sweeping pledges as a result. Over 100 nations pledge to stop deforestation in their countries by 2030; financial organisations have agreed to fund more renewable energy programs and industries rather than fossil fuel-burning ones; and countries like the US, China, and Australia have begun rolling out programs to supply billions of dollars into renewable energy and CO2 reduction technologies.
So, we have a society recognising a problem exists; businesses acknowledging that ESG (environmental and social governance) is animportant topic for customers and stakeholders; and governments and financial institutions willing to fund solutions to these issues. All of the hallmarks of a market sector ready to takeoff! And the data supports it. Several market analysts recently presented data suggesting that the markets primed to take the lion share of these initiatives would collectively comprise more than USD$50 trillion. Green hydrogen generation, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology, electric vehicles (EV), next-gen batteries and renewables are just a few of the technologies which would dramatically impact CO2 emissions, and thus climate change. 

How does this relate back to SPARC? Our vision statement: SPARC’s burning ambition is to inspire & contribute towards a better world, means that this sector is exactly where we want to be – going after the major challenges on the global stage. Also, the energy sector is one of the six focus areas SPARC intends to go after, as they all positively contribute to a better world and have large business potential. Finally, every single one of these technologies – EV, CCS, next-gen batteries, green hydrogen – require specialty chemicals and catalysts to make them successful. Lithium-sulfur technology makes up some of the more energy density rich battery designs; surface modified graphite and graphene have applications in EV and green hydrogen technologies; and metal catalysts are being used for CCS systems. If we can attain a mere half of 1% of this market, we have a USD$250 million business. Chance favours the brave. So what brave ideas do you have in this space? Chances are, we can develop it into a great business!