Zero-Carbon Transition – Latest signals of change (09.04.21)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.
The US is considering a 50% GHG emissions cut target by 2030 – nearly doubling the country’s previous commitment, while South Africa sets out to tighten its 2030 emissions target, with a 28% emissions cut increase compared with its 2015 pledge. Japan is also looking to raise its 2030 emissions cut target to at least 40%, while 174 companies in the country have urged the government to set a GHG emissions reduction target of at least 50% by 2030. China’s central bank is cooperating with the EU to implement a jointly recognized finance and investment system, while President Biden plans to issue an executive order requiring companies and financial institutions to “disclose climate change risks”. $506bn asset manager Aviva Investors has called on finance ministers and heads of central banks in 21 countries urging them to address climate risks and set ambitious NDCs. PayPal has pledged to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2040, with interim targets of 100% RE sources to power its datacenters by 2023 and 25% reduction of its operational GHG emissions by 2025. And Sky News has launched The Daily Climate Show, the first daily primetime news program dedicated to climate change.
A record 260 GW of new renewable energy capacity was added worldwide in 2020, up 50% from the year before, new International Renewable Energy Agency research shows. Norway’s $1.3tn sovereign wealth fund – the world’s largest state-owned investor – has made its first direct investment in RE as part of a plan to invest around $12bn between 2020 and 2022 into RE projects. BlackRock has raised $4.8bn for a new fund to invest in renewable power around the world. A US tax plan proposal would replace subsidies for fossil fuel companies with incentives for production of clean energy. India’s coal generation decreased by 5% in 2020 – for a second consecutive year – driven by 27% growth in solar power. Saudi Arabia has announced a major development plan for solar energy including seven agreements to produce electricity from solar power, adding up to 3,670 megawatts of capacity. And Great Britain’s electricity system recorded its greenest day ever over Easter, with almost 80% of the grid was powered from low-carbon sources.
Car manufacturers Volvo Cars and Jaguar Land Rover have both joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. Norwegian shipping company Walleius Wilhelmsen and US automotive aftermarket parts provider Advance Auto Parts Inc have committed to set science-based targets. The UK’s largest free retail electric car charging network has hit 500,000 charges – the scheme has reduced carbon emissions by an estimated 2,120 tonnes, the same as more than 2,770 acres of forest will manage in a year. Electric heavy trucks will soon be able to compete economically with diesel trucks as battery technology rapidly improves, a new study shows.
Zero-Carbon Built Environment & Heavy Industry
Australian engineering company Worley Ltd and French civil engineering construction company Eiffage have joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. Indian pharmaceutical company Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and Canadian fertilizer company Limited Nutrien Ltd. have committed to set science-based targets. Steelmaker SSAB, together with truck maker Volvo, will start producing the world’s first vehicle made of fossil-free steel, using hydrogen produced from renewable energy. And following a court ruling revering a Trump-era rule, the US Environmental Protection Agency will be able to set GHG limits on polluting industries such as oil and gas production and iron and steel manufacturing.
Zero-Carbon Land Use & Nature Based Solutions
Japanese food and drink company Suntory Holdings Limited has joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. Polish food retailer Żabka Polska and food manufacturers Griesson – de Beukelaer GmbH & Co. KG and HKScan Corporation have committed to set science-based targets, while Dutch food producer Verstegen spices & sauces had theirs approved. Nestlé has announced its support for the protection and restoration of over 500,000 hectares of tropical forest landscapes in Southeast Asia. New report from the Consumer Goods Forum Forest Positive Coalition outlines a strategy to end commodity-driven deforestation. And the U.K.’s seabed is more valuable as a carbon sink than as a source of oil and natural gas, with the country’s marine “natural capital assets” estimated at $300bn, a new study shows.