The global numbers are in, and 2019 was the 2nd warmest year on record—wrapping up the hottest decade ever recorded. The past five years have been the hottest five on record for the second year running.
The 2016 Paris Agreement set a commitment to keep the global average temperature well below 2°C (3.6 °F) above pre-industrial levels. In order to examine 2019 global temperatures in the context of this goal, we compare them to an earlier 1880-1910 baseline. While it’s important to note that a warming world will have year-to-year variations due to natural variability (so not every year will be warmer than the one before) 2019 was 1.22°C (2.19°F) above the pre-industrial baseline temperature.
To keep warming below 2°C will necessitate a global effort to drastically reduce emissions. The IPCC report stated that to limit warming to 1.5°C would require roughly halving emissions by 2030. Leaving behind the warmest decade on record reminds us of the challenge ahead, but also of the opportunity in the years to come.
METHODOLOGY: Calculations of average annual global temperature are performed independently at NASA and NOAA. Small differences in their calculations arise as NASA’s calculations are extrapolated to account for polar locations with poor station coverage, while NOAA relies more heavily on the polar station data. Climate Central compares temperatures to an earlier 1880-1910 baseline to assess warming during the industrial era.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step have announced the launch of their Sustainability Project, #itsstartswithus, which will see them become the world’s first carbon neutral cycling team, working in conjunction with CO2logic in order to offset their carbon footprint. This as well as embarking on an ambitious round of cultural and behavioural changes, aimed at limiting their environmental impact on the planet.
The Belgian team to also begins a program of cultural and behavioural changes, as part of it #itstartswithus sustainability campaign.
The end of the 2010s saw a tidal change in way that we view our environment and the impact that our everyday lives have on it. A globalised world has opened new horizons, building opportunities to explore and collaborate in ways unimaginable until recent times. But in recent years it has become obvious that out habits, along with the building of a throwaway culture, has started to take a toll on the planet.
Sport has played a huge part in this, encouraging athletes and fans to travel vast distances to explore opportunities in new lands. In order to be aware of our contribution and climate impact Deceuninck – Quick-Step have calculated their carbon footprint to be 1288 tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of driving a car 179 times around the world, or 539 return flights between Brussels and New York. The amount of forestation required to capture this amount of CO2 is the equivalent of around 3099 football pitches.
The team has pledged to a “manifesto of changes” that is aimed to reduce its environmental impact, make positive changes that can help reduce its wastage and help to educate riders, staff, partners, and supporters on the subject, with the hope of evolving habits. The pledges are:
Reducing the usage of plastic in the next two years and increasing recycling
Creating consciousness and networking among the team’s partners / suppliers
Promoting selling of recycled products through the team’s digital platform
Encouraging fans and partner staff to travel more via bicycle
Reducing energy consumption at the headquarters
Dividing and recycling waste and using biodegradable products as much as possible
Promoting the culture of recycling and reduce littering
Educating riders and staff to respect the environment
Offset our remaining CO2 emissions by supporting certified climate projects
Deceuninck – Quick-Step are quick to recognise their part in the current situation:
“Recently there have been almost daily stories in the news speaking about our environment and how it is evolving. Compared to many other sports, cycling has a unique relationship with the environment in that it is our stadium and like any stadium it needs to be cared for and looked after. As a team we travel thousands of miles every year and expand a large amount of energy, so we have to take our share of the responsibility. We see this as a long-term process of educating and changing habits and it is not about just one thing. Like everything we do as a team, we want this to be about everybody getting involved; the riders, staff, sponsors, supporters and those around us at races and events. It will not happen overnight, but if we all do our little bit, but the benefits will be long lasting. We are also delighted that our partners supported since the first moment our initiative with ideas and comments that will become part of the project in the next future.”
Alessandro Tegner, Marketing & Communication Manager of Deceuninck – Quick-Step
A CO2 Neutral cycling team?
#itsstartswithus will see Deceuninck – Quick-Step tackle their environmental impact on several fronts, headlined by two large carbon offset schemes. The first is a project to provide and install a safe water supply to the Kaliro District in Uganda. As well as the humanitarian benefits to installing the supply, there are serval environmental benefits, especially when it comes to tackling and reversing deforestation in the area. A readily available supply of safe water through boreholes also negates the need to have water delivered, and thus vastly reducing the reliance on heavy goods vehicles or the burning of wood to boil the water, therefore avoiding deforestation and reducing CO2 emissions.
The second offset scheme, in cooperation with CO2logic, takes place in a location that is very close to the heart of cycling fans – the region around the iconic Mont Ventoux. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step #itstartswithus campaign will partner a project developed by Centre Régional de la Propriété Forestière, which is implementing a number of conservation and reforestation projects in the area. The area is progressively known to be a habitat for wolves, an animal synonymous with the team, with the increased forest area giving them a larger area in which to roam.
“We are very pleased with the Deceuninck-Quickstep climate engagement and collaboration. This will set an example for all sports. Cycling is a beautiful and originally low-carbon sport that brings people around the world together. Unfortunately, due to the travelling requirements CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere. Together we will keep calculating and reducing the team’s climate impact through daily actions and by supporting certified climate projects”
Antoine Geerinckx, Founder and Manager of CO2logic.