Zero-Carbon Transition: Latest signals of change (13.03.2020)We Mean Business coalition
As the transition to the zero-carbon future accelerates, more and more signals of change emerge across the fields of transport, power, the built environment and the wider economy as a whole. These signposts give valuable insights into the change happening all around us, helping to alert businesses, investors and policy makers to the speed of the transition and give confidence in the overall destination.
Here are just some of the signals of change from the past week, demonstrating the transition to a #BetterFutureFaster is accelerating.
The number of companies committed to the Business Ambition for 1.5ºC campaign has reached 200. The ongoing coronavirus crisis may “lead to a slump in global carbon emissions this year”, but could also derail vital efforts to ramp up climate action and ambition ahead of COP26. The UK’s annual budget was touted as the ‘greenest ever’, including measures for tree planting and cutting plastic waste, but was criticised for falling short in key areas. Bank of England governor Mark Carney said the central bank is considering penalties for banks that hold assets in fossil fuel companies. And Greta’s climate strike is going digital #ClimateStrikeOnline.
Chilean airline LATAM Airlines Group S.A. has committed to set a science-based target (SBT). LATAM is the largest airline in Latin America and joins multinational International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) and Spain’s IBERIA in being committed to set SBTs. UK chancellor Rishi Sunak has committed £500 million ($625 million) over five years to develop fast EV charging infrastructure and extended the plug-in car grant by three years, but reduced the overall amount. Washington State Senate voted to adopt California’s zero-emission vehicle regulations. Most Europeans would support a permanent ban on short-haul flights and a carbon tax, a new survey shows. US freight-hauling rail company Union Pacific Railroad has also committed to set a science-based target and Danish pump manufacturer Grundfos has joined EV100.
Zero-Carbon Heavy Industry
Brazil’s Vale – one of the world’s largest mining companies – has committed to set a science-based target. The UK introduced a new £800 million ($1 billion) subsidy to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) infrastructure. The European Commission launched a “hydrogen alliance” to help develop hydrogen technology for transport. Korean tech giant Samsung has unveiled a new lithium battery that gives the same power at half the size, which could have implications for EVs and aviation. Two US construction and engineering firms have committed to set science-based targets: ARC Alternative and Renewable Construction and ARC Alternative and Renewable Construction. And Europe’s second-biggest publicly traded mall operator, Klepierre, has had its science-based target approved.
Emissions from coal power saw their biggest annual fall in decades last year at -2%, but coal use needs to collapse at an annual rate of -11% or more until 2030 to keep global warming to 1.5°C or less, a report has found. A new report from Carbon Tracker calls for new coal plants to be cancelled to avoid risking hundreds of billions in stranded assets. French oil and gas major Total is to build France’s biggest battery power storage project. And French luxury goods company Chanel has committed to 100% renewable electricity with RE100; Chanel is also committed to the Business Ambition for 1.5ºC campaign.