Net-Zero Transition – Latest signals of change (30.07.21)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.
US senators have reached a $1tn infrastructure deal, which includes the largest-ever federal spending for electric vehicle charging stations, public transit and clean water – a package seen as the first step toward a separate $3.5tn infrastructure bill. The US Securities and Exchange Commission may require publicly traded companies to report on GHG emissions by suppliers and partners. More than 50 large investors, which together manage more than $14tn in assets, are calling on companies to disclose their plans to cut GHG emissions and allow investors to vote annually on progress on their plans. Global asset manager Fidelity International, which oversees $787bn, has said it will vote against company directors who fail to tackle the issues of climate change and a lack of boardroom gender diversity. Pension provider Scottish Widows has introduced tougher criteria as it reboots its £250m Environmental Fund, excluding all fossil fuels investments. ESG asset managers are accelerating their use of new climate-investing benchmarks created by European authorities to make it harder to get away with greenwashing. Israel has announced a target to cut carbon emissions by 85% from 2015 levels by the middle of the century, while Indonesia is “optimistic of reaching a net-zero emissions target by 2060 or sooner”. And the newly launched Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative will seek to help build a more robust and transparent voluntary carbon market and address ‘credibility concerns’ surrounding carbon-offset markets.
UK power network operator Electricity North West Ltd has joined the Busines Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. Taiwanese power management solution provider AcBel Polytech Inc. has committed to set a science-based target. Limiting global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures could create between 3-8m new jobs in the energy sector by 2050, new research shows. New analysis finds it is 50% cheaper to generate electricity from renewables compared with fossil fuel-powered plants in major EU economies. Renewable energy provided more power than coal and gas in the UK for the first time ever last year, with wind power alone producing almost one quarter of the country’s electricity last year, following the development of new offshore wind farms. Australia’s energy market operator has unveiled plans for net-zero by 2050. And China did not finance any coal projects via its Belt and Road Initiative – the country’s global infrastructure development strategy – in the first half of 2021, in a first since the initiative’s launch in 2013.
French logistics company JACKY PERRENOT has committed to set a science-based target, while Canadian railway company Canadian Pacific Railway Company, US freight railroad operator Norfolk Southern Corporation and Mahindra Automotive Australia Pty Ltd – Australian automobile manufacturer had theirs approved. The UK Transport Select Committee of MPs has called for the government to introduce a zero-emission vehicle mandate in a bid to accelerate the market for electric cars ahead of petrol and diesel sales coming to an end in 2030. The Biden administration has asked US automakers to agree to the voluntary target of 40% of new vehicle sales being electric by 2030, while it has also proposed emissions rules for new cars to nudge 40% of US drivers into electric vehicles by decade’s end. Domino’s Pizza is collaborating with EV maker Revolt Motors to convert its current petrol bike fleet into e-bikes in India. And the UK government will fund a scheme to install overhead electric cables to power trucks on a motorway, as part of a series of studies on how to decarbonise road freight.
Net-Zero Built Environment & Heavy Industry
UK construction and engineering companies Keltbray Group Erith have joined the Busines Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. French cable manufacturer NEXANS has committed to set a science-based target, while Italian heat exchange solutions manufacturer Oesse srl and Japanese pharmaceutical company Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Had theirs approved. Nearly 40 of the UK’s leading housebuilders have backed a sector-wide plan for the industry to achieve the government’s target of delivering zero carbon-ready homes by 2025 and have also committed to aligning operations with net zero by mid-century and halving emissions by 2030. And developers will be required to ‘climate-proof’ their projects to access EU funds, with the European Commission publishing a guide to assess whether planned infrastructure projects are equipped to cope with climate change impacts like floods and heatwaves.