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Climate Change: A Pandemic We Must Collectively Address Now

By Fida Kibbi, Vice President and Head of Marketing, Communications and Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson Middle East and Africa

During COP27, which took place in Egypt, world leaders have grappled over what must be done to curb global warming. Seven years ago, world leaders signed an international treaty to limit global warming to well below 1.5°C. Nonetheless, efforts remain insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

The ramifications and severity of climate change vary depending on where you live.  In Africa, climate-related problems have been significant including the current floods in Nigeria and droughts in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya as few examples to mention.

Climate change needs to be seen as a critical matter and dealt with in the same manner as a pandemic.  The actions we take today will determine the scale and impact of the ramifications. In treating it as a pandemic, we must remember some of the lessons and act accordingly. A key lesson is that collaboration is key to making a difference and it is an ecosystem driven approach.

An Ecosystem Concerted and Sustained Approach

Governments: Define policies that will help drive sustainability and reduce activities that endanger the planet. Regulations in various sectors will ensure adherence and create actionable outcomes.

Organizations: Organization, no matter how big or small, define how their operations and value chains impact climate change and what they can do to mitigate the effects. At Ericsson, we have prioritized the elimination of sources of emissions within our operation and value chain which follows a 1.5°C reduction trajectory as part of our Net Zero target for 2040. Organizations need to take a bold step in investing in digitalization. This will help reduce carbon emission as well as drive efficiency in every sector of the economy.

Individuals: Individual responsibility and dedication are critical in addressing climate change concerns. Decisions such as choosing to invest pension funds in organizations that are environmentally responsible will put pressure on providers to help fight the climate crisis. Cutting down on business travel is another good example of how companies and individuals can make an impact on reducing carbon emissions.

Leverage Technology and Innovations

Technology can play a major role in supporting global climate action. These could include solutions that help various sectors manage their emissions and data driven insights that can help make informed decisions affecting climate. At Ericsson, our 5G technology is supporting industrial sectors, such as energy, agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation, towards a low-carbon economy.

Private and Public Partnership and Commitment

Partnerships between the private and public sectors with a common goal and purpose can help advance climate action, in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17 Ericsson has partnered with stakeholders, including governments, agencies, the international community, and research institutions, in our various markets, to find lasting solutions to climate change. Ericsson contributed to the Exponential Climate Action Roadmap report launched at the Global Climate Action Summit 2018. The report shows the potential for all sectors to halve greenhouse gas emissions by around 2030. Across Africa, we partner with our customers to find innovative solutions that address environmental sustainability.

Anticipate Multidimensional Impact

Similar to the pandemic, climate change has a multidimensional impact. It has the power to derail the progress we have made in sustainable development, further deepen the economic divide, and harshly affect the marginalized in society. Understanding the worst-case scenario will help us address the challenge effectively.

In summary, the fight against climate change cannot be won alone. It will require collaboration of the entire ecosystem while the use of technology and innovation across all sectors of society, along with the proper policy direction and specific solutions, to achieve a 1.5°C future target. We need to think of climate change as a looming pandemic. Our individual actions today and the interventions by all stakeholders will determine its scale and impact. We have the power to drive this change, and it must act with urgency!

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