Smart solutions in the fight against climate change
Bosch at the world climate conference in Katowice, Poland.
At the 24th United Nations Climate Change Conference that took place from December 3 to 15 in Katowice, Poland, more than 30,000 delegates discussed approaches to mitigating climate change. Bosch was among the private sector companies that took part in dialogs, panel discussions, and presentations at the event. Here, we address the current situation, the focus of current efforts, and the Bosch contribution to protecting the climate.
Quick action is needed
In its most recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that current efforts to curb global warming are not sufficient in reaching the goals set in the Paris climate agreement. In 2015, the world’s governments agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 181 member states have since ratified the Paris agreement and submitted their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the United Nations.
According to current forecasts, however, the Earth’s average temperatures will increase by more than three degrees Celsius by the end of this century. For this reason, IPCC experts recommend urgent action. By 2030, emissions would have to be reduced to a level much lower than in 2010. By 2050, they would have to be eliminated completely. The world climate conference in Katowice aimed to formulate an international regulatory framework for the implementation of the Paris agreement. The negotiating partners were largely successful.
Dr. Urs Ruth, Chief Expert Energy and Climate Change at Bosch, was on hand to explain the scientific background of the IPCC’s report to other private sector delegates, and to present his analysis of the report’s results. In most of the IPCC’s climate mitigation, the 1.5-degree target can only be achieved with a certain overshoot in terms of temperatures. Reaching the target will require using technologies to remove harmful CO2 from the Earth’s atmosphere.
Dr. Urs Ruth was impressed by the results of the conference: “In Paris, the 1.5-degree target was still vague. Now, it is being established as a global benchmark. This shows clear progress.” In the COP24 decision text, the member states have agreed to announce improved climate protection activities by 2020 that will aim to achieve the 1.5-degree goal. “Fortunately, no one is talking any longer about whether or not carbon neutrality can be achieved. Now, we are discussing the how’s and when’s,” says Dr. Ruth. “When it comes to the how, we need to focus not only on technological questions but also on social compatibility of the measures.”
Reducing emissions and staying competitive
Bernhard Schwager, head of the sustainability office at Bosch, presented the current study of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), entitled “Klimapfade für Deutschland”. The study presents cost-efficient approaches to reaching the German climate targets. The BDI aims to secure Germany’s competitiveness and create new opportunities for exporters on global markets. To help achieve this, the BDI is conducting an analysis of the technical and economic measures required by 2050.
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels gases by 2050, the study presents three possible scenarios: with current political standards, emissions can only be reduced by 61 percent. However, the German Federal government has set the goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 80 to 95 percent. While an 80 percent reduction is possible and economically feasible with current technology, new technologies are required to achieve the 95 percent target. According to the BDI study, this would mean that a large part of the German economy would become almost carbon neutral. To make this vision reality, poilcymakers must provide a basic framework and promote international cooperation. A can be found here.
Investments in climate protection
Bosch is taking measures in fighting climate change, . By 2020, the company aims to reduce CO2 emissions at its own locations by 35 percent compared to the 2007 reference year. Bosch is already well on its way to achieving this goal: in 2017, emissions relative to value added had already been reduced by 32.8 percent. Thanks to the company’s efforts and effective energy efficiency measures, absolute emissions have remained stable in the past ten years despite growth of around 70 percent. In the coming years, Bosch will continue to invest in making its locations around the world more energy efficient. In total, 7.3 billion euros of the company’s sales have been spent on research and development.
9 percent of Bosch sales
are spent on research and development.
Protecting the environment with intelligent technologies
Bosch is developing intelligent software solutions to increase efficiency. In the areas of building technology, mobility, and agriculture, the company has already come up with trailblazing technologies. Developed at Bosch Software Innovations, the Connected Building Platform connects office buildings to one another and processes their data in a cloud. With very little effort, operators and facility managers receive information on key performance indicators and building use on their laptops or smartphones. This data helps make building operations more energy efficient.
Bosch Mobility Solutions also offers intelligent technologies that help logistics companies analyze vehicle utilization and driver data. Thanks to connected mobility, empty runs can be avoided. In turn, this allows companies to save resources and reduce emissions.
With smart agriculture, Bosch helps make the everyday work of farmers easier. Sensors measure air temperature, as well as air and soil humidity. The system also shows when the fields need fertilizers. The technology thus helps avoid unnecessary measures, which also reduces groundwater pollution.
The Paris climate targets require that politics, business, and society rethink their approaches to fighting global warming. Mitigating climate change calls for urgent action and intelligent solutions. This will require a policy framework that will promote the development of energy efficient, resource-saving technologies. Bosch is making a decisive contribution in the fight against global warming. With long-term investments in environmental conservation and the efficient use of resources, as well as with the development of smart technologies, the company supports the goals of the world climate conference.