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In this conversation, we are going to be talking about how we can
use remote work as a carbon emission reduction strategy.
But before we get into the details of that,
I think it's very important to put the conversation that we're
going to have around this topic into context.
Probably the best place to start to give our conversation around
this topic context is late November of 2019.
What happened then was that
the United Nations Environment Program
published a report which was commented on globally,
which indicated that we would need to reduce our global carbon emissions by 7.6
percent every year for the next decade if we wanted to reach the Paris Agreement target,
which was not to raise global temperatures by
more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.
Now, when we look at this task of reducing
global emissions by 7.6 percent every year for the next 10 years,
it becomes really evident that we can't make cosmetic changes.
We have to make large structural changes to the way the global economy works,
to the way we consume energy.
What we would need to do is we would need to have a look at
all the sectors that are producing carbon emissions.
Every sector will need to make structural changes, large,
deep structural changes in order for us to do this
7.6 percent global reduction every year for the next 10 years.
Now, let me give you some examples of that.
For example, if you look at electrical production,
most of the carbon emissions that come as a result of
electrical production come as a result of burning coal.
If I take South Africa as an example where I'm based,
the South African data indicates that
South Africa's CO_2 footprint is
made up of 60 percent from coal burning to produce energy.
Now, if we could take those coal plants,
decommission them, and create a sustainable energy production,
electricity production from solar panels and from wind,
for example, that would make a massive impact to South Africa's emission profile.
But that's not the only place we need to look.
We also need to look at agriculture,
we need to look at industry,
we need to look at commercial and residential buildings,
we need to look at transportation.
Under the transportation, it's not just surface transportation,
it's also ocean transportation, it's also aviation.
The structural changes need to happen in all these sectors collectively
in order for us to even get remotely close to that target.
The question you may ask is, well,
where does remote work fit into this conversation?
Well, obviously, where it fits in and you'll see how we
got to understand this a little better in a minute,
but where this fits in is in the transportation piece of the puzzle.
Now, we know with transportation,
what needs to happen is our transportation
needs to be weaned off combustion engines, for example.
There are many places in the world,
many cities in the world,
many governments that have said by a certain point,
you wouldn't be able to purchase a combustion burning fuel engine anymore,
it'll have to be electric.
In transportation, what needs to happen is
that whole segment of the economy needs to be electrified.
Now in order to do that is a major undertaking.
We know that many of the motor vehicle manufacturers have already committed to do so.
For example, Mercedes announced recently that one of
the last combustion engine vehicles is on the assembly line at the moment,
thereafter it will only be electric vehicles that will
come out of the Mercedes brand manufacturing facility.
Many of the manufacturers are busy doing that.
But while we wait for those changes to happen,
and while we wait for electric vehicles,
surface transportation vehicles to arrive en mass,
they are things that we can do.
I like to refer to them as picking low-hanging fruit.
When we have this conversation of how we can actually create
a reduction of emissions right now while we wait for the structural changes to happen.
This is where remote working comes into the picture.