Zero-Carbon Transition – Latest signals of change (12.03.21)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.
US climate change envoy John Kerry urged the world’s top polluters to reduce CO2 immediately. Environmental groups and leaders urged the US to set an NDC with emissions reduction targets no lower than 50% by 2030, while new analysis suggests the US should aim for a national target of cutting emissions by about 60% by 2030 to meet climate goals. The Confederation of British Industry called for “fundamental change” in the UK tax regime for the country to hit its 2050 net zero target. Investors managing a combined $33 trillion have developed a “Net-Zero Investment Framework” to build a common approach to decarbonize investor portfolios and the wider economy. Major pension funds that own assets worth $1.2 trillion have committed to cutting the carbon emissions of their portfolios to net zero by 2050 or earlier. South Sudan aims to submit to the UN a draft plan outlining its ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030. And Andrew Steer has been appointed CEO of the Earth Fund.
HSBC pledged to overhaul its financing of coal and committed to set emission reduction targets. The commissioning of new wind turbines globally surged by a record 59% to more than 96 gigawatts of capacity in 2020. China led the world’s biggest ever increase in wind power capacity, with a rise of nearly 60% on the previous year. According to a new report, Africa’s wind potential is more than 59,000GW – enough to cover the entire continent’s electricity demand 250 times. Approval of the biggest US offshore wind farm – which could begin feeding the New England grid in 2023 – represents a “key step” in the country’s plan to double offshore wind capacity by 2030 and decarbonize the power sector by 2035. Elon Musk announced his plans to build, via a Tesla subsidiary, a 100-megawatt energy storage project that will connect to the Texas grid. And a 100-year-old Australian coal-fired plant will be closed early and partly replaced with a giant storage battery to accelerate the transition to clean power.
Nine EU member states call for the EU to give a clear signal to accelerate the shift to EVs by setting a date to phase out the sale of new ICE vehicles. US lawmakers propose giving the US Postal Service $6 billion for electric delivery vehicles. LG will invest $4.5bn to meet growing US electric vehicle demand. Shipping industry representatives proposed to charge a climate-related levy of $2 per ton of fuel used by ships, which would raise about $5bn over the next decade to fund R&D into zero-carbon ships. A new venture will start producing hydrogen from dirty coal with plans to then ship a cargo on the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier. And Aston Martin has announced its plans to produce an electric sports car and SUV in the UK by 2025.
Zero-Carbon Built Environment & Heavy Industry
UK residential property development company Barratt Developments has joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. The US Department of Energy announced more than $75 million towards advancing carbon capture technology and researching energy conservation in industrial settings. A widescale program of retrofitting in the UK could create an estimated 200,000 jobs in the energy efficiency sector by 2030.
Zero-Carbon Land Use & Nature Based Solutions
New research shows the economic benefits of protecting nature “outweigh” those of exploiting it, comparing the monetary worth of “ecosystem services” – such as carbon storage and flood protection – and the likely dividends from converting it for production of goods. Cleaning up abandoned oil wells and restoring the land around them could deliver up to $21 billion in benefits from agriculture and carbon sequestration. Salesforce’s commitment to support the conservation and restoration of 100 million trees by 2030 saw its first milestone with 10 million trees funded. ‘Food systems’ contributed one third of human-produced greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 and 71% of these were from agriculture and associated land use and land-use change activities, a new study shows. UK supermarket chain Morrisons pledges to be completely supplied by net–zero carbon British farms by 2030. Cultivated meat – which could be as cheap as conventional meat by 2030 – could cause 92 per cent less global warming and 93 per cent less pollution than conventional beef.