The red alert launched last week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should send a strong signal to the economic planet, if not to the entire planet: to avoid the worst, it will not only be necessary to create an industry fully devoted to minimizing the human impact on nature, but it will also be necessary to review the performance objectives to take into account the environmental benefits rather than the financial ones. This is a bit like the message that the Montreal entrepreneur Sylvain Carle, who has turned into a seed fund manager and who is now leading the Canadian component of the fund dedicated to climate solutions SecondMuse Capital, would like to convey to the big boys. investors if they want to be part of the solution.
Guided reflection on certain subjects.
Greenwashing by 2030
Hundreds of countries, including Canada, have pledged under the Paris Agreement to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 from what they were in 1990. The Canada is also committed under the government of Justin trudeau achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest. However, not only has Canada never been able to meet its environmental targets established in the past, but investment in fossil fuels has even increased since the election from the Liberal government. To believe that Canada and the rest of the planet will meet their future targets, we will have to quickly put in place the right environmental audit tools, says Sylvain Carle.
Climate transformation for organizations is like the digital transformation we have been talking about for years, but bigger still. And not all will get there.
“The climate is not a business like the others. The target in this sector is decarbonization rather than yield and profitability. Benchmarks should therefore be created to which countries and companies can relate. The Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO) in Montreal uses the term “digital intelligence” to illustrate what it takes. It’s a form of business intelligence that goes beyond financial growth. Using the same standards, whether in Montreal, Vancouver or the United States, for example, will facilitate the expansion of effective models across the country or the continent. “
In its previous reports, the IPCC warned us of the “extreme” environmental impact of an increase in the average global climate temperature of 2 degrees Celsius or more. Last Monday, the international group went further by compiling concrete data and statistics on several current environmental changes and to be predicted according to the evolution of the climate: more abundant precipitation in certain regions, more significant drought zones elsewhere, threatened forests almost everywhere. The amount of data published by the IPCC is huge, but could prove crucial in coordinating climate action, Carle believes.
“What was released last week is a preview of the full report which provides a massive amount of data on many phenomena. It’s “big data”That we can use to better follow the evolution of the situation and to find solutions. We will have to adapt to climate change and this digital intelligence will help to get there. Climate transformation for organizations is like the digital transformation we have been talking about for years, but bigger still. And not all will get there. “
The model of technological innovation generally involves private investment in new companies which must eventually produce a certain financial return. This return is not guaranteed (hence the “risk” in venture capital), but beyond disruptive technologies and the transformation of industries brought about by these new digital companies, money remains the main fuel. of the economic engine behind the current technological model. It is a difficult model to replicate in the climatic sector where the yield is calculated more in megatonnes of CO.2 that in millions of dollars …
“It is especially difficult to convince the large institutional lenders to invest in funds without a clear promise of return. Right now, in tech, everything is digital. The carbon footprint of start-up is not very high, because there is no material development. Climate control is different: reducing the polluting emissions of a cement plant is a very “material” activity that requires a lot of investment from the start. We will have to review the models. This is also why SecondMuse is a partner of the super cohort program of start-up of the City of Montreal, which will be launched this fall and which aims to meet the city’s future climate challenges. “
Quebec in the climate fight
Quebec has a slightly better environmental record than that of most other provinces and states in North America, but the situation is not rosy (nor green) for all that. According to the most recent federal data on this subject, the province’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased annually from 2016 and amount to 83.7 million tonnes for the year 2019. This is only 3%. below the 1990 reference level, which raises concerns that, despite its efforts, Quebec will not meet the targets set by the Paris Agreement for 2030.
“Quebec’s hydroelectricity is ‘clean’ enough to have caused a certain innovation deficit in the energy sector. Fortunately, that is starting to change. Hydro-Québec is starting to think about innovation beyond the production and transmission of electricity with its Hilo and InnovHQ divisions. We also have a strategy for possibly producing hydrogen. Quebec’s energy potential is international. “
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