Zero-Carbon Transition – Latest signals of change (05.03.21)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 zero-carbon future is accelerating.
UN secretary-general António Guterres has called for the cancellation of all coal projects. Asset manager Aviva has set a net-zero target by 2040, telling the 30 biggest carbon dioxide emitters in its portfolio to sign up to science-based targets. Citigroup has committed to achieve net-zero emissions from its own operations and the activities of its clients by 2050. The UK has been urged to use its presidency of the G7 and COP26 to help ‘green global finance’. The Bank of England will support the UK’s net-zero target and start greening its corporate bond-buying program. The EU approved a green transition fund to help regions wind down their coal, peat and oil shale sectors and replace them with low-carbon industries and jobs. A new US bill aims to get the country on the road to carbon neutrality by 2050. WBCSD has launched a new initiative to enable Scope 3 emissions transparency and accelerate decarbonization.
The Climate Group’s RE100 initiative has welcomed four new members including Taiwan’s Delta Electronics and US pharmaceutical group Zoetis. India’s plan for a grid that could move clean energy – mostly powered by solar – is gaining momentum again with implementation by August 2021. Senior European officials urged the World Bank to exclude fossil fuel investments. ‘The heart of coal country’ in the US, Wyoming, is soon to be home to one of the biggest wind farms in the nation. Hungary’s last coal power plant will be shut down in 2025, bringing the country’s coal exit forward by five years. Poland plans to invest $960 million in shift to clean energy, using the EU green economic rescue fund. Energy storage systems grew by 182% in the US between Q4 and Q3 2020. The US could reach 70% carbon-free electricity and reduce its emissions by 42% by 2030 according to new Gates-funded research.
Swedish auto giant Volvo Cars has committed to only selling 100% electric vehicles by 2030, while phasing out all models with an internal combustion engine. FedEx has committed to become carbon neutral by 2040 with a clear pathway to 100% EVs by then and by offsetting all of its emissions from aviation until alternative fuel technologies scale up. Electric car ownership in the UK has jumped by more than 50% over the last year to 86,000 privately-owned EVs, while Sweden’s plug-in electric vehicle sales hit a record high of 35% in February. US company and government officials called for ‘ready-made’ infrastructure to promote EV use. Six major US electric companies have formed a coalition to boost EV charging stations. The largest German ship engine manufacturer pushes for climate-neutral fuels. In a new agreement with Delta, which spent $30 million to offset most of its 2020 impact on climate, Deloitte will purchase sustainable aviation fuel from the airline, helping to reduce the CO2 emissions from business travels by approximately 1,000 metric tons.
Zero-Carbon Built Environment & Heavy Industry
Researchers at the University of Michigan are working on composites that produce a bendable concrete material that could dramatically cut global emissions. UK construction materials companies ACO Technologies and Forterra have both committed to setting a science-based target, along with Australian construction company Downer EDI.
Zero-Carbon Land Use & Nature Based Solutions
UK supermarket chain J Sainsbury, Sri Lankan agriculture group Talawakelle Tea Estates and Brazilian forestry group Klabin have all joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. Burger King will launch new vegan and vegetarian dishes including a plant-based version of its chicken ‘Royale’ burger. Beyond Meat has agreed deals with McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut to extend plant-based alternatives at the fast-food chains. L’Oreal is planning to derive nearly all its ingredients from renewable plant sources and abundant minerals by 2030. Seagrass, mangrove swamps and tidal marshes can soak up more carbon dioxide than rainforest, making these coastal blue-carbon ecosystems particularly effective sinks, research has found.