Zero-Carbon Transition – Latest signals of change (11.09.20)The 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 remains underway.
Climate Week NYC (September 21-27) has surpassed 300 registered events, featuring representatives from businesses, states, cities, national governments and organizations from around the world. Ahead of key negotiations next week, the European Parliament’s environment committee has voted for a new EU-wide target to reduce carbon emissions 60% by 2030. A group of global pension funds and investment managers, with over $40 trillion in assets, have drawn up a plan to cut carbon in their portfolios to net-zero by 2050. Indian conglomerate Godrej Group has committed to five science-based targets across its subsidiaries. And bringing pollution down to WHO limits would avoid 3 million lost working days each year and add a £1.6 billion boost to the UK economy, according to a new report.
One of the world’s largest automakers, Germany’s Volkswagen AG, has had its science-based target approved, joining PSA Group, Groupe Renault and Daimler / Mercedes-Benz AG on the growing list of European automakers with approved targets. Ride-sharing giant Uber has committed to make its fleets in North America and Europe fully electric by 2030, following Lyft’s recent commitment to switch to 100% electric or zero-emission vehicles globally by 2030. QuantumScape, a battery start-up backed by Volkswagen and Bill Gates, is set to go public. British racing driver Lewis Hamilton will enter a team in the new Extreme E racing series. And World EV Day celebrated EV ownership this week.
Poland is planning to accelerate its coal phase-out and spend billions on renewable and nuclear energy. Apple is investing in the world’s largest onshore wind turbines, as part of its RE100 commitment. A solar power fund is building its first subsidy-free solar farm, after securing a deal to sell its electricity to Shell. And BP has secured a $1.1 billion deal to take a 50% stake in two of Equinor’s wind projects in the US. And old lithium mines in Cornwall are being revived to meet growing battery demand.
Zero-Carbon Built Environment & Heavy Industry
Along with 40 of the world’s leading cement and concrete companies, the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) has unveiled a joint industry ‘2050 Climate Ambition’ statement. Major businesses are being challenged to cool their operations in the most energy efficient ways possible, through the EP100 Cooling Challenge, launched by the Climate Group and the Alliance to Save Energy. The pilot HYBRIT project to replace coking coal with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen got underway in Sweden. And Indian real estate company Godrej Properties Limited has committed to set a science-based target.
Zero-Carbon Land Use and Nature-Based Climate Solutions
Marfrig, the second largest Brazilian food processing company, and UK food retail brand Ella’s Kitchen have both committed to set a science-based target. A new report states that the demand growth for virgin plastics has fallen from 4% a year to 1%. Garnier has pledged to plant 400,000 trees by November as part of a new consumer-facing reforestation project. Zimbabwe’s government has banned mining in the country’s game reserves. A Scottish distillery has debuted a ‘climate positive‘ vodka. And scientists may have discovered a way to use seaweed to wash clothes at lower temperatures.