Net Zero Transition – Latest signals of change (04.03.22)We Mean Business Coalition
Here are just some of the signals of change from the past week, demonstrating the transition to a resilient and inclusive net-zero economy.
The European Parliament’s lead negotiator has proposed tougher EU targets to reduce energy use this decade, which he said would help cut Europe’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and rein in energy bills. EU policymakers are negotiating a huge package of laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions this decade, including targets to reduce energy use by renovating buildings. Legislative proposals on the circular economy are expected by the end of March, according to a two-day joint conference organised by the French EU Council, the EU Commission and the Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on 1 and 2 March.
Germany aims to fulfil all its electricity needs with supplies from renewable sources by 2035, compared to its previous target to abandon fossil fuels “well before 2040.” The European Commission will propose that member countries tax the profits energy companies made from recent gas price spikes and invest the revenue in renewable energy and energy-saving renovations. The Biden administration’s sale of offshore wind development rights off the coasts of New York and New Jersey drew a record $4.37 billion in high bids from developers that included major European energy companies. The administration has set a goal to install some 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030 along the nation’s coastlines and several states, including New York and New Jersey, have set ambition mandates for clean power adoption. Australian iron ore magnate Andrew Forrest, is investing A$3 billion ($2.2 billion) in renewable energy in central Queensland. Forrest, Australia’s richest man, said his company Squadron Energy has acquired the two-stage Clarke Creek project – a wind, solar and battery farm development – with contracts already issued for the immediate start of construction. February’s winds helped Ireland set a new record by meeting almost 60% of its electricity demand with wind energy. A three-month trial in Saudi Arabia has shown that a solar panel add-on system can harvest water without using any electricity by exploiting the day-night warming and cooling of solar panels. The system slightly increases the electricity-generating efficiency of the panels by keeping them cooler. And in Virginia, US, six abandoned coal mines owned by Nature Conservancy have been transformed into some of the first utility-scale solar farms in the region.
Airbus has announced plans to test a hydrogen-powered jet engine by the middle of the decade, as the world’s largest plane manufacturer pushes to meet its 2035 deadline of building a zero-emission aircraft.
The aircraft manufacturer will fit out a superjumbo A380 with a hydrogen propulsion engine – a fuel that is entirely carbon neutral if produced with green electricity.
Land and Nature
The European Commission wants a complete overhaul of Europe’s natural landscapes by 2030 – switching from unhealthy ecosystems at risk of emitting carbon to restored homes for biodiversity that capture and store carbon. Natural spaces such as forests and soil like forests and soil will aim to capture 310 million tonnes of CO2 with farmers and foresters at the heart of this transition. US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is spear-heading a new global initiative for farmers. Seals in Antarctica have been helping Japanese researchers survey the waters under the thick ice sheets, gathering data such as water temperatures and salt levels, in areas with extremely harsh environmental conditions.
Built Environment and Heavy Industry
President Biden announced several new efforts designed to expand domestic production of key minerals needed for electronics, batteries, and clean energy. The push is meant to strengthen domestic industry while reducing American reliance on imports from foreign countries. A TED talk by Maria Galluci was published explaining how green ammonia could help decarbonize international shipping.