Zero-Carbon Transition – Latest signals of change (08.01.21)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.
Over 30 companies have committed to set science-based targets since the start of the new year, including Japanese technology giant Hitachi, which has also joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. China is set to launch a new carbon emissions trading scheme next month, as part of its plans to decarbonize its economy by 2060. In the US, the Democrats have taken control of the US senate after winning two run-off elections in the state of Georgia, giving President-elect Biden greater scope for introducing climate policies. Portugal’s environment minister, Joao Pedro Matos Fernandes, has said that Portugal will use its six-month presidency of the EU to finalize climate law around the bloc’s emissions targets. Swedish bank SEB are expecting governments and companies to issue $500 billion in green debt during the year. And a survey by BlackRock has shown that 2020’s global health and economic challenges have not slowed the transition to sustainable investing.
Danish air freight company Scan Global Logistics A/S and Chinese air freight company JD Logistics have both committed to set a science-based target. Norway has become the first country to sell more electric cars than petrol, hybrid, and diesel engines in a year. South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced the country is aiming to cut around 30% of carbon emissions from railway travel by replacing all diesel passenger locomotives with a new bullet train by 2029. BMW aims to build a quarter of a million more electric cars than originally planned between 2021 and 2023. Technology giant Apple is planning to produce its first EVs by 2024. Volkswagen has developed a prototype robot to aid customers with EV charging. And the US city Cambridge, MA is introducing climate warning labels at gas pumps.
UK electricity distribution company SSEN Distribution has committed to set a science-based target. The UK’s power generation industry is headed for its greenest year yet with carbon intensity down 60% in the six years to 2019. The UK government has given the go-ahead to Ørsted’s 2.4-GW Hornsea Three wind project off the North Norfolk Coast. According to a new analysis Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam have cancelled nearly 45 gigawatts (GW) of coal power in 2020, equivalent to the total installed capacity of Germany. And Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plans to invest in hydrogen, ammonia, carbon capture and nuclear power, as part of its overall push to zero-carbon energy.
Zero-Carbon Built-Environment & Heavy Industry
French metals and mining group ERAMET and European Metal Recycling Limited have both committed to set a science-based target. Commodities trader Trafigura has committed to reduce carbon emissions from its operations by at least 30% in the next three years. WWF Scotland say changing the way homes and buildings are heated could create 9,000 jobs. Plans have been drawn up to introduce hydrogen into the natural gas network that serves a village near Newcastle in the first quarter of 2021. Boston Metal, a start-up backed by Bill Gates, has raised a further $50 million to ramp up development of zero-carbon steel. Miner BHP has announced that it is testing electric vehicles at its Nickel West operations in partnership with Toyota. And South Korea’s SK Group plans to invest $1.5 billion into US hydrogen fuel cell maker Plug Power.
Zero-Carbon Land Use & Nature-Based Solutions
Commodities trader Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., Barclays and Google’s venture capital unit are investing $32 million in Air Protein, which makes meat out of air. Mitsubishi has partnered with Israel’s Aleph Farms with the aim of bringing lab-grown beef to Japan. And Swedish food maker Bama Fresh Cuts and US wine maker Jackson Family Wines have both committed to set a science-based target.