In the short term, the policy drivers and imperatives for businesses to take action are weak. However, the intent shown by governments in adopting the Paris Agreement in December 2015 indicates a higher level of ambition. By signing the Paris Pledge, we have supported this intent and a commitment to a safe and stable climate in which temperature rise is limited to less than two degrees Celsius.
We also recognise the need to act now, plan how to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to a safe level over the medium term and build resilience against changes already occurring. We have clear goals for reducing our GHG emissions intensity, and we are working to make our operations more energy efficient and to expand our use of renewable power sources. These initiatives benefit our business, our stakeholders and the environment.
Our business is energy intensive. When we mine, process and transport the minerals and metals that modern society depends on, we use energy and generate carbon emissions. Given the scale of our business, when we take steps to manage and reduce our energy use and emissions, Rio Tinto has an opportunity to make a sustainable impact on a large scale.
Reducing our energy footprint is not easy. It’s a complex process, often involving projects with long time horizons. But we have already made significant progress, cutting our absolute GHG emissions by more than 36 per cent between 2008 and 2015. And we have stated our intent to take further action, signing the COP21 Paris Pledge for Action in 2015 and confirming our aim to substantially decarbonise our business by 2050.
Innovation is an important part of our climate change programme. It helps us to find smarter and more sustainable ways to run and grow our business, and to work in ways that are better for the environment.
Today, we are applying innovation to the challenge of climate change in two key ways: using less energy in our operations and cutting the carbon intensity of our energy mix.