Net-Zero Transition – Latest signals of change (28.05.21)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 is accelerating.
The SME Climate Hub is supporting the UK government’s new campaign to encourage and support small businesses to commit to halve carbon emissions 2030, while Microsoft has joined the 1.5°C Supply Chain Leaders initiative. The Confederation of British Industry says building a fairer, greener economy could drive an extra $989bn of economic growth by 2030 and create 240,000 low-carbon jobs. The Bank of England plans to align its corporate bond purchase scheme with the UK’s net–zero target. Microsoft, Github, Accenture and Thoughtworks are teaming up to establish a nonprofit aimed at cutting emissions across the software industry. And the BBC and US software company Citrix have committed to set a science-based target, while the Financial Times has joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign.
A court has ordered Royal Dutch Shell to cut its global carbon emissions by 45% by the end of 2030 compared to 2019 levels, while ExxonMobil and Chevron have both suffered climate-related shareholder defeats. Indonesia won’t approve any new coal-fired power plants and plans to retire its coal-fired power plants gradually, as it steps up efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Germany and Norway have opened a direct power cable between the two countries that will provide the former with green energy as is phases out coal power. UK power utility SSE plans to sell its remaining interest in UK gas pipelines by the end of this year and spend about $2.8bn on low-carbon energy projects over the next year to expand its renewable energy business overseas. The US federal government plans to open more than 250,000 acres off the California coast to wind power development, as part of the country’s efforts to cut its climate-warming emissions. And thousands of jobs are expected under $56.5m plans to create Scotland’s largest renewable energy hub in Edinburgh. And a new study finds most of the UK’s offshore energy jobs will be in the low carbon energy industry by 2030, climbing from 20% currently to 65% by the end of the decade.
A new report commissioned by the We Mean Business Coalition – The Shape and Pace of Change in the Transport Transition – finds the uptake of EVs is surging up and following an ‘S-curve’ growth but it’s now vital to sustain and extend this transition towards zero-emission vehicles to ensure we limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C. The Spanish logistics company Grupo Acotral has committed to set a science-based target, while the UK public transport company Go Ahead Holdings Limited has joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. Ford will add $8bn to its EV production over the next four years – bringing its overall spending on EVs up to almost $20 billion – as the company is expecting electric battery-powered cars to make up 40% of its sales worldwide by 2030. Nissan is in talks over plans to build a battery gigafactory in the UK, making the country its largest EV production hub outside Japan, supporting the production of 200,000 battery cars a year as well as thousands of jobs. And Britain’s energy regulator has approved a $425m investment to triple the number of ultra-rapid electric car charging points across the UK.
Net-Zero Built Environment & Heavy Industry
UK construction and engineering company NG Bailey Group Ltd, French engineering company SPIE and US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson have joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. German real estate company LEG Immobilien SE and French real estate company Kaufman & Broad have both committed to set a science-based target, while pharmaceutical companies Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A. and Gilead Science had theirs approved. The UK government has announced a $235.2m spending plan to accelerate the roll out of green technologies across the country’s energy-intensive industries, which could help create up to 60,000 jobs. The country is also considering plans for a carbon tax on imports from polluting industries, initially targeting heavy industry such as steelmaking. In a letter to the UK business secretary, the Construction Leadership Council calls on the government to renovate the country’s homes to low-carbon standards. And leading European companies and funds have invested in H2 Green Steel, a Swedish start-up that aims to build the world’s first large factory for emissions-free production of the alloy.
Net-Zero Land Use & Nature Based Solutions
Canadian fast food holding company Restaurant Brands International Inc. has joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. American food processing company Lamb Weston Holdings has committed to set a science-based target, while Swedish food processing company L.E. Vegetables Company Aktiebolag, Brazilian pulp and paper company Klabin and Swedish organic products producer Midsona had theirs approved. A $42m government-funded project in the UK will test trees, peat, rock chips and charcoal as ways of removing climate-heating emissions. UK retailers and industry groups have announced they will seek different suppliers and find soy substitutes if Brazilian politicians pass new legislation to weaken protections for the Amazon rainforest. And increasing protein-production efficiency is shown to have decreased global methane emission intensity for most types of livestock over the past two decades.