Photo Credit: Jeremy Hall, 2021
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report was a stark reminder that without immediate and meaningful action the world is heading to some potentially irreversible consequences of climate change, even with the rapid decarbonization required to limit the worst impacts.
These impacts are occurring now and include greater frequency and intensity of extreme heatwaves, droughts, tropical cyclones, wildfires, rainfall and flooding, while glaciers shrink further by mid-century, and a key temperature limit of 1.5 degrees centigrade being broken in just over a decade if action is not taken now.
At Jacobs, we’re fully committed to the 1.5ºC scenario, both in how we operate our business and in the climate action, decarbonization and sustainability solutions we implement in partnership with our clients.
Decarbonization is our overarching path to a net zero future and this “race to zero” comprises two complementary pathways. The first pathway is about reducing the carbon footprint produced across every industry – from water and transport, to manufacturing and city precincts. The second is by decarbonizing the fossil-based systems of energy that power them, which is commonly referred to as “the energy transition”. Both pathways must progress with urgency if we are to limit significant climate change and offer a net zero future.
Powering the Future
Decarbonizing our energy systems and sources is one critical pathway to reaching net zero and getting there by 2050 will require monumental global effort. A leader in renewable energy for over 50 years, we provide complete end-to-end services from grid connection studies, electricity market assessments, environmental and social impact assessments, business case development and more. We’re also supporting clients across electricity transmission and distribution networks, energy storage solutions, transition to lower emission base load alternatives, carbon capture solutions and the future with hydrogen.
While investment in cleaner, renewable fuels will continue to grow, there’s an emerging opportunity for data, technology and innovation to push even further.
Your Net Zero Journey
We understand that your journey to net zero can be complex with multifaceted governance, infrastructure and operational aspects to navigate. At Jacobs, we help you to set and deliver emission reduction targets systematically and tactically through our customized Net Zero Lab approach.
Our Evolve tool, for example, converts high level sustainability themes and issues into tangible, practical commitments that can be applied on any project or initiative and maps progress against these commitments against the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
We also partnered with the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) to help create a comprehensive learning resource, the Climate Solutions Accelerator, which we are offering to our entire global workforce to help employees understand the role they can play in climate change action. It’s one of two courses RSGS offers to help individuals and businesses better understand climate change, climate science, relevant policies, and the solutions and tools available for businesses to use.
The Role of Nuclear
For a climate-resilient future, nuclear offers a clean, reliable energy source and across the nuclear lifecycle we're helping solve the world’s most complex nuclear challenges safely and effectively. We are at the forefront of new nuclear power programs in Europe such as at Hinkley Point C in the U.K. and in Poland, as well as developing new technologies for advanced modular reactors. One of the most transformational future energy sources could be fusion, which will replicate the nuclear reaction that takes place in the sun and stars. If this can be harnessed, it will create almost limitless carbon-free energy without leaving behind long-lived waste materials. This technology is in development as a potential future energy source.
A growing consensus among scientists, practitioners and policy makers has identified the potential for nature-based solutions to play a major role in achieving net-zero targets. Nature-based emissions reductions could be the restoration of degraded peatlands, lessening CO2 emissions, while emission removals could include the creation of new woodlands which absorb carbon from the atmosphere and store it within tree biomass and soils. The importance of blue carbon, carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems, is an increasing area of focus owing to the potential for significant carbon storage capacity. We’re working with clients to practically identify opportunities and harness nature-based solutions.
We also recently created a unique collaboration with Biomimicry 3.8, a global consulting and innovation firm specializing in nature-based solutions and nature-inspired designs to offer Positive Performance. This assessment and innovation methodology helps clients to develop and integrate regenerative best practices and incorporate nature’s time-tested strategies into products, organizations and services.
Climate Adaptation and Resiliency
While reducing emissions is critical, it is equally important to adapt to changes that have already occurred and to proactively implement resiliency strategies for potential future climate change scenarios. At the forefront of climate adaptation and resiliency is maintaining public health and wellbeing and protecting vulnerable communities and ecosystems in the face of ever-increasing extreme climate events.
Planning and adapting ahead of potential threats can help minimize the impacts of climate change; strengthen and safeguard communities; protect energy, water and transportation assets; reduce costs; secure supply chains; enhance sustainability; fuel economic growth; and ensure a more vibrant, prosperous future for generations to come.
At Jacobs, we provide comprehensive, end-to-end strategic consulting, infrastructure, technology, and emergency management solutions to help governments, cities and communities adapt and thrive. Across natural and built environments our adaptation and resiliency experts engage with clients and stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle, assisting in early hazard definition, evaluation, strategy development, and solution design and implementation, including operations and maintenance of utility and infrastructure assets.