Net-Zero Transition – Latest signals of change (10.09.21)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.
More than 200 health journals worldwide have published an editorial calling on leaders to take emergency action on climate change and to protect health. Harvard University is ending its investments in fossil fuels, with its President stating the school’s $42bn endowment had no direct investments in fossil fuel exploration or development companies as of June and will not make such investments in the future. The Climate Bonds Initiative is forecasting the global green bond market will surpass $500bn in 2021 and rates the possibility of issuance surpassing $1trn in 2023 as strong. Zurich Insurance Group has unveiled new climate measures aimed at cutting CO2 emissions by a fifth by 2025. And band Massive Attack has commissioned a report on carbon emissions in the music business and calls for a government plan to cut live music’s carbon emissions.
A new study shows that most fossil fuel reserves owned today by countries and companies must not be extracted if the world is to achieve its climate targets. US House of Representatives Democrats have unveiled details of a proposed $150bn payment program aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector, while a US Department of Energy analysis forecasts that solar power could supply 45% of US electricity by 2050 in a scenario where the US grid is fully decarbonized. Global windfarm installations are expected to double to record levels this year, powered by an offshore energy boom in China. And wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa has announced it has developed the first offshore wind turbine blades that are fully recyclable.
Toyota will invest $13.6bn in battery development and supply over the next decade. New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed into law a bill that sets a goal for all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks to be zero-emission models by 2035. All new homes and offices will feature electric car chargers under new UK legislation expected to come into force next year. The International Chamber of Shipping and Intercargo have proposed a levy based on mandatory contributions for each tonne of CO2 emitted from ships exceeding 5,000 gross tonnes and trading globally. The US government has announced a goal of replacing all jet fuel with sustainable alternatives by 2050. Major US airlines in the Airlines for America trade group plan to announce that they will back a voluntary industry target of 3bn gallons of sustainable aviation fuel in 2030. And British Airways has signed a biofuel supply deal with BP, while Delta Air is to buy a “test batch of sustainable aviation fuel” from oil firm Chevron.
Net-Zero Built Environment & Heavy Industry
Holcim Group has unveiled new targets for net-positive impact on biodiversity by 2030, including commitments to develop nature rehabilitation plans for all quarries by the end of 2022 and to assess the company’s biodiversity baseline across all managed land. The sustainable business organization Aldersgate Group has called on the UK government to urgently establish a “comprehensive and ambitious plan of action” for decarbonizing heavy industry. And ShareAction research finds that producing emissions-free chemicals has only a “very marginal effect” on the price of the end product and shows that as renewables and green hydrogen come to undercut the cost of their fossil counterparts by 2030, the transition to an emissions-free chemical sector is becoming increasingly economically viable.
Net-Zero Land and Nature
Amazon has announced the launch of the Agroforestry and Restoration Accelerator in partnership with The Nature Conservancy to create a more sustainable source of income for thousands of local farmers while also restoring native rainforests. UK frozen food company Nomad Foods has joined the UN’s Race to Zero campaign, with a focus on supporting its 75% most-emitting suppliers to develop their own science-based targets by 2025. And African tropical mountain forests store far more carbon than previously thought, new research shows.