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Considering Climate Change Root Cause During Climate Week 2020

2020-09-21  |  5 min read 

In my role as Global Director for Sustainability, Security and Safety at Keysight, like many others, I note the exceptionally extraordinary year that 2020 has become. Starting in January, I led Keysight’s Global Crisis Management Team as incident commander for our Covid-19 response. After stabilizing in May, we entered wildfire and hurricane season which is shaping up to be one of the worst years in recent times. To date, greater than 4 million acres have burned on the west coast of the US, and we have run out of letters for named storms in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Coast.

Our planet has reached 1°C warming above pre-industrial levels caused by CO2 and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Climate scientists state that the global temperature rise must be limited to well below 2°C in order to “significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) goes further to specify 1.5°C as the warming threshold that avoids the most serious climate change impacts. Climate change affects humans and ecosystems including extreme weather events like wildfires and hurricanes, droughts, rising sea levels, and flooding. The consequences of climate change will continue to increase in frequency and severity until global GHG emissions are significantly reduced.

As the planet warms our lives are impacted.  Living in California, it has become routine to have an emergency kit ready, to have an evacuation plan discussion with my family, to know what to do in the event of a power outage, and to monitor air quality levels and adjust activity accordingly. This year, we have added what to do during lightning storms to our skillset. All these things are important for planning and preparing for the next event. However stressful this is, the adage of “action alleviates anxiety” helps to ensure we are prepared as much as possible.

Through these levels of readiness, both at Keysight and at home, we have become very good at being prepared and take quick and decisive actions in the face of adversity to mitigate the most severe impacts of climate change when possible. Now is the time to turn the focus of this action from managing symptomatically to addressing root cause, and we must do so with immediacy.

Keysight has long supported environmental sustainability through programs such as natural resource conservation, zero waste programs, and LEED Green Building certification. With the increasing urgency of addressing the root cause of climate change, and the need to manage the climate curve with the same dedication that we are flattening the Covid-19 curve, the company is committed to building a better planet with a “Think Future, Act Now” mentality.

September 21, 2020 kicks off Climate Week NYC, hosted by The Climate Group, and coordinated with the United Nations and the City of New York. This year, many events will be virtual enabling a larger audience to listen, learn, and act. I look forward to attending some of the virtual sessions, and in turn, put my learnings towards Keysight’s efforts in creating a long-term roadmap towards carbon neutrality.

Now is the time to turn the focus of this action from managing symptomatically to addressing root cause, and we must do so with immediacy.