Zero-Carbon Transition: Latest signals of change (08.05.2020)The We Mean Business coalition
As the world grapples with the devastating impacts of the coronavirus, our thoughts are with those affected by the illness and those struggling to carry on despite incredibly challenging conditions – particularly those at the frontline who are caring for the sick and vulnerable.
At this time, it is difficult to think of anything other than getting through the coming days, weeks and months. But we also need to look forward with hope that in rebuilding from this devastating crisis we can ensure greater resilience and steer a renewed pathway to the zero-carbon future.
The hard work of shaping that future continues, but with even greater determination. Here are just some of the signals of change from the past week, demonstrating the transition to a resilient, zero-carbon future remains underway. Find out more here >
A growing number of national business groups including in Spain, France, Slovenia and Australia released sign-on letters or statements representing major businesses calling for climate action and resilience to be at the heart of economic recovery measures. New analysis led by Oxford University of possible COVID-19 economic recovery packages shows the potential for strong alignment between the economy and the environment. And the Investor Agenda has warned that recovery plans that exacerbate climate change would expose economies to further financial, health and social risks.
A coalition of 40 global companies, including renewable energy majors Iberdrola and Orsted, have called on governments to support “a massive wave of investments in renewable electricity” as part COVID-19 recovery plans. Orsted and Iberdrola also managed strong quarterly earnings, outperforming the sector, despite the impact of the virus on the economy. France’s Total is the latest oil and gas major to commit to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, following engagement led by Climate Action 100+. The UK’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has signalled its intention to aim for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. US power utility Southern California Edison is replacing gas power plants with 770MW worth of battery-based energy storage. And a US judge has cancelled hundreds of oil and gas leases in Montana for failing to assess risks to the environment.
Japanese air transportation services company Ana Holdings Inc. has committed to set a science-based target. In exchange for a €7bn coronavirus aid package, Air France will have to stop competing with rail company TGV where rail offers a viable alternative. A four-lane motorway through post-lockdown Brussels has been transformed to accommodate more cyclists, as the popularity of cycling continues to rise. Sweden saw continued growth in its plug-in electric vehicle market share in April, reaching 22.6%, which is more than double 10.1% in April 2019. Full battery electric vehicles (BEVs) reached a record 31.8% of overall UK auto sales in April, though this was due to the overall slump in sales.
Zero-Carbon Built Environment & Heavy Industry
Mahindra Accelo, an Indian producer of metal products for the auto and energy sector, has had its science-based target approved. The hydrogen house in the UK is the ‘greenest in Europe’. And the Australian government is making up to $300m available for developing new hydrogen.