Signals of Change – December 2023 (COP28 special)We Mean Business Coalition
As governments and non-state actors from around the world are gathered in Dubai for the UN Climate Change Conference, here are the latest signals of change towards…
A strong negotiated outcome at COP28
While the first week of the conference has seen an impressive set of declarations and commitments, some of which are outlined below, there is still much more to be done and the overall success of the COP hinges on strong outcomes from the negotiations.
At this critical moment, over 800 leaders from across society today sent a strong message for an orderly, just & equitable phase out of fossil fuels to deliver a 1.5°C-aligned outcome at COP28. They join the 200+ businesses who have been calling for Governments to move from fossil fuels to clean solutions. Find out more
A just transition from fossil fuels to clean solutions
Day 4 of COP28 conference in Dubai saw more than 100 countries signing up to a new pledgebrokered by the US, the EU and the UAE aimed at tripling renewable energy production and doubling energy efficiency by 2030. As an example of how renewables are expanding more quickly and cheaply than anyone predicted, the article cites Masdar’s new Al Dhafra solar plant in Abu Dhabi which is the largest single-site solar farm in the world and was constructed in just 4 months.
IKEA owner Ingka Group also announced an additional €1 billion for the development of renewable energy innovation and technology, bringing the firm’s total investment to €7.5 billion by 2030.
Lastly, Brazil, Canada, Egypt and the US have all signalled intentions to cut methane emissions. The US was first to make the announcement on day 3 of the conference with a pledge to cut emissions from its oil and gas sector by 80% over the next 15 years, a total of 58m tonnes. Canada also announced draft regulation to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas 75% below 2012 levels by 2030 including a $30 million investment to establish a Methane Center of Excellence. New regulations are expected from Egypt and Brazil by end of 2024 and end of 2025 respectively.
Just ahead of COP28, a new milestone was reached for sustainable aviation with news that the world’s first transatlantic flight by a large passenger plane powered only by sustainable aviation fuel had taken place between London and New York.
On the sidelines of the conference, Egypt’s Suez Canal economic zone and Norway’s Scatec ASA signed a memorandum of understanding worth $1.1 billion to supply ships with 100,000 tonnes of green methanol per year by 2027.
On Day 5 in Dubai, German automaker Daimler handed over its first 40-ton electric truck in the UAEto delivery company DHL. Each truck is expected to save 240 tons of CO2 emissions over a 10-year period compared to its ICE counterpart.
The President of Nigeria, Kashim Shettima, stressed the nation’s commitment to e-mobility. Federal government support for the transition includes ‘boosting local assembly capacity for electric vehicles, establishing charging infrastructure, and enabling private sector participation’.
Away from the Dubai Expo, the European Commission announced proposals for a three-year delay to a 10% tariff on the sales of electric vehicles between the EU and the UK, a move expected to boost the European car market. Additionally, the Commission is proposing a €3 billion fund for the European battery industry to boost production of EU-made EVs.
Lastly, the UK’s Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) mandate will come into force on 1st January 2024, after a parliamentary vote late on Tuesday. Automakers will have to ensure that 22% of cars sold in the UK next year generate no tailpipe emissions, rising to 33% in 2026, 80% in 2030 and 100% in 2035.
Pre-COP28, a new partnership was announced between Emirates Steel Partners and renewable energy company Masdar to develop green hydrogen to decarbonize the UAE’s steel industry. The pilot is the first of its kind in the MENA region.
Following on from groundwork laid at the G7 Summit, on the first day of COP28 in Dubai German Chancellor Olaf Scholz officially launched the Climate Club. With 36 members to date, the initiative will be focused on helping these economies to decarbonize hard-to-abate industries like steel, cement and aluminium.
Also on day 1, the World Trade Organization announced new Steel Standards Principles, aimed at aligning how GHG emissions are measured in the steel sector. The principles have already been endorsed by 35 steelmakers, standard setters, international organizations and initiatives.
Day 2 saw the launch of a new Industrial Transition Accelerator for Heavy-Emitting Industries, backed by $30 million USD from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the COP Presidency. The Secretariat will be hosted by the Mission Possible Partnership (MPP), whose research suggests that the financing could be put in place over the next two years to deliver 300 sustainable aviation fuel plants, 200 ships using zero-emissions fuel, 70 zero-emissions steel plants, 40 low-carbon smelting and refinery plants and more than 40 CCUS plants.
At COP28, 63 countries including the United States, Canada and Kenya joined a new pledge to make deep cuts to cooling-related emissions. The Global Cooling Pledge aims to cut emissions from the sector by 68% by 2050 based on 2022 levels. It marks the world’s first collective effort to reduce emissions from cooling, focusing on food and medicine refrigeration and air conditioning.
On day 6, UNEP’S Cool Coalition launched a new report on cooling, finding that passive cooling, higher-energy efficiency standards, and a faster phase-down of climate-warming refrigerants could cut sectoral emissions by 60%. Once combined with clean energy integration into the grid, this would mean that the sector’s emissions could be reduced by 96% by 2050.
From our COP28 sponsors
It has been a week of intense discussions about how to accelerate the decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors such as industry and freight. This article from our silver sponsor, Topsoe, explains the technology behind the green hydrogen revolution that will make this possible.
Meanwhile, our COP28 Health Day partner Philips has shared lessons for addressing another widely-discussed challenge: scope 3 emissions. Healthcare emissions account for 4.4% of global emissions, more than shipping or aviation – and 71% of these are in scope 3 of care providers.
First up, the IFRS Foundation launched the IFRS Sustainability knowledge hub to support the use of the ISSB Standards from next year. Going live on COP28’s Climate Action Day on 3 December, the hub provides useful resources for companies who are preparing their ISSB disclosures. We Mean Business Coalition was one of the partners contributing knowledge and resources to the hub with our Greenhouse Gas Reporting Guidance and other resources.
We Mean Business Coalition was also among 400 organizations who committed to advancing a global baseline for climate-related reporting during Finance Day at COP28 on 4 December.
By day 5 of the conference, hundreds of millions of dollars had already been earmarked for African climate action and sustainable development. Among these, a $175 million USD pledge to the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa. Plus €100 million for new sustainable agriculture initiative in Rwanda funded by the European Investment Bank and the Bank of Kigali. See more funding announcements.
Protecting and restoring nature
On day 2 of COP, 130 world leaders pledged for the first time to reduce the impact food and agriculture have on climate change. The food system accounts for 30% of emissions and 60% of biodiversity loss and these 130 nations are responsible for 75% of all food system emissions.
Debt-for-nature swaps have been attracting growing interest following recent deals in Belize and the Galapagos Islands. Off the back of these successes, day four of the conference saw a group of multilateral development banks and climate funds launching a global taskforce to scale up these initiatives. The taskforce will be led by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
Meanwhile on day six, Brazil launched a $250 billion USD global fund to protect forests in 80 nations. The initiative will build on existing frameworks such as the LEAF Coalition and the Amazon Fund and is expected to be fully operational by COP30.
Decarbonizing global supply chains
A new tool which helps companies to monitor steel and aluminium supplier emissions in stunning detail has been launched by Al Gore-backed coalition Climate Trace. Boeing, Tesla and GM are among the companies signed up to use the new database launched on day 4 of the conference.
Energy management company, Schneider Electric has expanded its Catalyze program with new sign ups from Google, ASM and HP. Companies in the Catalyze program are working with their suppliers to join buying cohorts to negotiate more competitive Power Purchase Agreements with renewables suppliers. The announcement was made on the sidelines of COP28’s Energy Day.
Lastly, on day 4, a group of nine African countries including Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria and Togo officially expressed interest in joining the Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) Consortium, a project focused on the African battery value chain for electric batteries. Members of the Consortium must achieve energy storage commitments of 5 gigawatts (GW) by the end of 2024 with an aim to store 400 GW of renewable energy by 2030.
Latest from the We Mean Business Coalition
During COP28, We Mean Business Coalition joined a coalition of organizations calling for transparent, high integrity carbon markets as part of broader corporate climate action. To keep our climate goals in reach, more must be done to incentivize and recognize corporate climate investments today.
Our dynamic schedule of events at the Business Pavilion for Climate Leadership continues, with livestreams and recordings available for most events. See latest insights from the Conference, policy asks and more on our COP28 hub page.
Over 200 businesses representing over $1.5 trillion USD in annual revenue have now signed the Fossil to Clean letetr, urging governments at COP28 to include the phase-out of unabated fossil fuels in the final negotiated outcomes.
Companies taking action
As of this month, over 13,000 companies are taking action through Coalition partner initiatives.See all companies who committed in the past month on the We Mean Business Coalition website.
Companies setting their ambition for net zero include:
- 6798 companies are working to cut their emissions in line with science through SBTi
- 7072 small and medium-sized enterprises are working to cut emissions with the SME Climate Hub
- 458 companies have now signed the Climate Pledge, to reach net zero by 2040.
Meanwhile, companies are driving down emissions through the following demand-side initiatives:
- 130 companies are accelerating the transition to electric vehicles with EV100, and 5 companies are kickstarting the transition to zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles with EV100+.
- 128 companies are committed to improving their energy efficiency through EP100.
- 423 companies have committed to 100% renewable energy with RE100
- 32 companies have joined ConcreteZero to create a market for net zero concrete
- 38 companies have committed to SteelZero to create a market for net zero steel
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