As global decision makers consider the state of the world at their gathering in Davos, climate change and environmental concerns feature in the top five of the most serious global risks they have identified.
In 2018 a plethora of reports from respected scientific institutions, the United Nations and inter-governmental bodies all predicted rapid and alarming rises in global temperatures as well as the failure, thus far at least, to adopt policies which successfully address the problems.
The European Union is taking action, and has adopted a policy aim of achieving net-neutral greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. And in the United States, California is setting the pace with a goal to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 – and to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by the middle of the century. For legislators already seeing the impact of climate change, taking steps now is part of their effort to protect people and economies in the future.
Such commitments have far-reaching consequences for transport, energy and for all forms of battery storage: an important enabler for electrification. Lead batteries already deliver arguably the most reliable and cost-effective battery energy storage available today. As one of the technologies best suited to storing and distributing power from solar and wind farms, lead batteries are backing up data centres and will provide essential storage supporting the roll out of 5G – the network helping make the fourth industrial revolution a reality.
Lead batteries are one of a range of key battery technologies vital to the success of the Clean Mobility Package, a European initiative to decarbonise of the transport sector. Lead batteries are not only used in all vehicles requiring starting, lighting and ignition (SLI) functionality, but also in virtually all start-stop and micro hybrid vehicles.
By providing essential back-up functionality, they also play a crucial role in plug-in and full electric vehicles. The European initiative aiming for 35% of all newly sold passenger vehicles to be electric and plug-in hybrids means lead batteries will continue to play a critical role in the e-mobility transition.
But the challenge now is to invest in new research and innovation and bring forward the next generation of advanced rechargeable batteries. That is something the lead and lead battery industries are fully committed to achieving through the global consortium for battery innovation.
What industry needs from global leaders in Davos, and from the EU, the US and other jurisdictions, is consistent policies and legislation supporting battery innovation and promoting growth across all battery value chains.
Parliamentarians and policy-makers can only expect to meet ambitious climate change targets by nurturing those industries capable of achieving the energy transformation at scale. As the World Economic Forum’s global risk register highlights the dire consequences of moving too slowly or ineffectively, it is more important than ever that industry and politicians work hand-in-hand to achieve decarbonisation goals.