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<2°C Futures: 2040 worlds to stay below two degrees warming


<2°C Futures: 2040 worlds to stay below two degrees warming

  • <2°C Futures: 2040 worlds to stay below two degrees warming What are the 2040 trajectories we need to take to stay below two degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels?
  • Date: Dec 13, 2021
  • Category: Sustainability
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COP26 aims to bring countries to an agreement to secure global net-zero and keep 1.5°C within reach. To achieve this goal, the world needs to halve emissions over the next decade and reach net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century.

So, what will it take to get there? What would a 1.5°C world look like?

Forum for the Future and the Aditya Birla Group published the following infographics to provide an understanding of what a <2°C world would look like and the transition scenarios required to get there.


The physical impacts of previous emissions are already ‘baked into’ the system by 2040, based on projections from a number of sources, including the Fourth National Climate Assessment released by the U.S. Global Change Research Program in November 2017 and the January 2018 draft of the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C, as well as insights gained during expert interviews. Likely physical impacts of climate change by 2040 are:

Declining Arctic summer ice, declining ocean health, rise in sea levels, heatwaves, decrease in water availability, severe winter, migration and displacement, uncertain and volatile monsoon, decrease in agriculture yield, flooding and reduction in Himalayan Glacier Health.


The transition levers that must be pulled to reduce and control emissions to a below 2°C trajectory are varied. There is no one silver bullet, and the massive change required by 2040 across the globe will require a complex combination of the levers. To stay below 2°C, the following are levers that need to be pulled by 2040:

Fully decarbonised electricity system, electrify transport and mobility, increase energy efficiency in buildings, increase energy efficiency in the economy, reduce emissions from heavy industries, increase negative emissions technologies and land use, increase net positive agriculture, increase private and public investment in climate action and increase investment in gender empowerment and education.

<2°C FUTURES: Four scenarios outlining what the business operating context could look like in 2040

The impact on businesses will depend greatly on how the combination of levers is applied. In turn, this will depend greatly on the socio-economic context. Many of the emissions trajectory models assume that the context in 2040, 2060 and 2100 will look similar to today. We know this is unlikely given the change we have seen over the previous 20, 40 and 80 years. For this reason, we need to understand how these levers could impact our businesses in different socioeconomic contexts: for instance, in a world of strict international governance what could we be forced to comply with and what incentives could we benefit from; and how can we, therefore, find success in that 2°C future? How might this differ if international governance splinters into the protectionist blocs already being signalled? These Four Scenarios will help you plan for these different <2°C Futures:

  1. Efficiency First
  2. Redefining Progress
  3. New Protectionism
  4. Service Transformation


Please download the full document here


Forum for the Future
  • Tags : Sustainability

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