Zero-Carbon Transition – Latest signals of change (16.04.21)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.
More than 300 businesses and investors in the US – representing over $3tn in annual revenue and over $1tn in assets under management – have called on the Biden administration to adopt the ambitious and attainable target of cutting GHG emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, as signatories to a letter organized by Ceres and the We Mean Business coalition. European leaders have joined the call. New Zealand has introduced a law that will require financial firms to report the impacts of climate change on their business. JPMorgan Chase has pledged to facilitate $2.5tn worth of climate-conscious transactions over the next decade, while BlackRock and Temesek have teamed up to launch a $1bn decarbonization investment platform. Major news outlets worldwide will start using the term “climate emergency” in their coverage of climate change. And in an effort to raise awareness of climate change and other environmental issues, a new Google Earth feature lets users see how the planet has changed over 30 years.
Zero Carbon Energy
The Climate Group’s RE100 initiative has reached the milestone of 300 members, with new joiners including Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, Dutch beverage company Heineken, South Korean battery manufacturer LG Energy Solutions and Japanese electronics company Epson. All but three of the 22 largest power and gas utilities in Europe have now set net-zero emissions targets. Facebook has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 94% in the last three years and is now powered by 100% renewable energy. The US is decarbonizing faster than expected and is already halfway to a carbon-free power sector. Replacing coal with renewables in China would achieve a net saving of $1.6tn. Seven European countries have committed to stop public export guarantees for fossil fuel projects. And a new report finds that – under a 2ºC scenario “taken seriously” – crude oil demand would enter into a tailspin after 2023, with consumption falling so fast that there would no longer be any need to find new supply.
UK transport group FirstGroup plc has joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. EVs could make up 45% of the global car market by 2040, with China and the EU ahead of the pack thanks to strong incentives. Advances in technology and battery costs should allow all new cars and trucks sold in the US to be powered by electricity by 2035, while Washington State is the first state in the country to plan ICE vehicles phase-out by 2030. EV owners in Britain will be able to charge their cars for free thanks to a new tariff that will offer free power when renewable energy sources are generating extra solar and wind power. And French lawmakers have approved a measure that will abolish domestic flights on routes than can be covered by train in under two-and-a-half hours.
Zero-Carbon Built Environment & Heavy Industry
German engineering and construction company Exyte has committed to set a science-based target. Swedish engineering company Trelleborg and Italian metal industry provider Danieli & C. Officine Meccaniche have both joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. Major industries across south Wales – including steel, oil refining, cement and chemical companies – have joined forces to cut their carbon emissions over the next 20 years.
Zero-Carbon Land Use & Nature Based Solutions
Japanese and Dutch beverage companies, respectively, Asahi Group Holdings and Heineken, UK food service company Compass Group UK&I and Swedish food retailer ICA Gruppen have joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. US supermarket chain Albertsons Companies and Japanese food and drink company Kagome Co. have committed to set science-based targets, while Finnish dairy product manufacturer Valio and UK meat processing firm Pilgrim’s Pride Ltd. had their targets approved. Starbucks is rolling-out a pilot to offer customers reusable mugs, while the company will phase out single-use cups entirely in South Korea. Apple is launching a $200 million “Restore Fund” that will make investments in forestry projects to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Brazil seeks $1bn from western nations to reduce deforestation by up to 40% over the next 12 months as part of its pledge to end illegal deforestation in the country by 2030. Coral reefs off the US coast are providing $1.8bn in flood protection to property owners per year, new research estimates.