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Predictions for the Year 2023
Last week we reviewed our predictions that we made a year ago for the year 2022. In this post we will hazard some guesses as to what the year 2023 may have in store for us. This prediction process is not just a parlor game. The planet is in distress. In the Review of 2022 Predictions post we suggested that climate change will affect most people — even those living in the more prosperous countries.
Prediction #1: The SEC Climate-disclosure Rule
In March 2022, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published a proposed rule which would require public companies in the U.S. to disclose three items:
Their current greenhouse gas emissions;
The programs they have in place to reduce those emissions; and
An evaluation of the risks that their businesses face as a consequence of climate change.
This proposed rule has run into some intense opposition within Congress. Nevertheless, we predict that the rule will be formalized with one huge change: companies will not be called on to report their Scope 3 emissions.
It will also become more apparent that the climate crisis is not something that can be addressed using financial tools. The climate crisis is one of physics, thermodynamics and ecology. The SEC rule will fail to acknowledge this fundamental difficulty.
Prediction #2: Process Safety Management - The Boundaries
In August of 2022 the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) surprised us all. The agency decided to re-open its process safety management (PSM) standard for the first time in 30 years. They identified 24 areas where they would like to make changes. In the fourth quarter of 2022 we wrote posts that discuss and evaluate OSHA’s proposed changes (the index of the posts is here).
For the year 2023 we make the fairly safe prediction that the proposed changes will be adopted into the standard, and that companies in the process and energy industries will have to update their PSM programs to comply. There will, however, be a sense of disappointment that OSHA did not do more - after waiting for 30 years, the updates are rather unambitious. When the process safety standard was new in the year 1992 there was a sense of opportunity, even excitement. These emotions were not present in the year 2022.
Prediction #3: Process Safety and Net Zero
One of the themes of this site is that the process safety community has much to offer when it comes to addressing climate change, and related issues, particularly resource depletion.
The prediction is that an increasing number of process safety professionals will recognize this opportunity and do what they can to reduce climate-related risks.
Prediction #4: Net Zero Reality
Many organizations have set a goal for having ‘Net Zero’ emissions, often by the year 2050. This trend toward setting Net Zero goals started with the COP21 conference that was held in Paris in the year 2015.
The prediction is that an increasing number of companies and organizations will realize that these goals are extraordinarily ambitious goal, and that they will require that those organizations make drastic and wrenching changes to the way in which they conduct business. These organizations will also become increasingly aware that climate change is just one piece of a much larger predicament - a predicament that includes resource depletion, loss of biodiversity and environmental degradation.
Prediction #5: Moral Dimension
Related to the forecasts to do with 'Net Zero Reality’ it will become increasingly evident that climate change, and also the loss of ecological diversity, is a moral challenge. The immensity of that challenge may even lead to increased spiritual awareness, which is why we have started the blog Faith in a Changing Climate.
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