Zero-Carbon Transition – Latest signals of change (16.10.20)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 is accelerating.
The European Commission has unveiled a flurry of major policy plans as it seeks to help deliver on 2050 net zero goal. Thanks to an open letter from a raft of global financial institutions coordinated by CDP, more than 1,800 companies have been urged to set science-based targets. One of the world’s largest manufacturers of consumer and electronic products, Sony has committed to the Business Ambition for 1.5ºC campaign. Members of the UN-backed Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, with portfolios worth a combined $5 trillion, have committed to cutting the carbon emissions linked to companies they invest in by up to 29% within the next four years. The UK’s biggest asset manager, Legal and General Investment Management, is set to warn 500 companies they must do more to meet climate disclosure and decarbonization requirements. New research shows that if the UK switched funding from overseas oil and gas projects to renewables and clean energy infrastructure, it could support up to 42,000 jobs around the UK by 2035. And global carbon dioxide emissions fell by 1,551 million tons or 8.8% in the first half of the year compared to last year.
Europe’s electric vehicle (EV) sales are on track to triple in 2020, compared to 2019, and the market share of EVs will hit 15% next year, according to new projections. Amazon has unveiled its first all-electric delivery van, built by EV startup Rivian. Uber has committed to set a science-based target. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the province of Ontario announced $447 million investment in a Ford factory billed as the largest EV plant in North America.
The world’s best solar power schemes now offer the cheapest electricity in history, according to the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2020, which for the first time lays out a 1.5ºC consistent pathway for reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Shares in China’s biggest wind turbine maker surged more than 20% amid aggressive installation proposals from the government. Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co plans to sell its remaining stakes in coal-fired power stations by the end of the decade. The EU is considering binding standards for the natural gas industry to limit methane emissions. And the vice president of Samsung Electronics has said the company won’t be involved in making any more coal-fired power plants, in the wake of brand damage.
Zero-Carbon Built Environment & Heavy Industry
The European Union announced a major building renovation project – its Renovation Wave Strategy – to improve the energy performance of buildings. The European Commission has published a strategy on reaching zero pollution in the chemicals industry. New research has identified 55 clean technologies that are “ripe for investment” by the EU to help meet decarbonization goals. A new development bank owned by the Scottish government will seek to drive the North Sea’s transition to a lower-carbon future. Japan’s Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama announced plans to create a commercial hydrogen fuel supply chain by around 2030.
Italian metals group Manni Group has had its science-based target approved and Newmont, the world’s biggest gold miner, is looking to set Paris-consistent zero-emissions targets. And India’s Modi government has earmarked Rs 43,000 crore investment to develop coal-to-liquid technologies, in a bid to find cleaner uses for its coal reserves.
Zero-Carbon Land & Nature Based Solutions
IKEA has launched a new scheme to buy back its unwanted furniture from customers to resell as secondhand. Swedish supermarket chain Coop Sverige has committed to set a science-based target. Research has shown that increasing biodiversity in children’s play areas leads to improved immune systems within a month. And research suggests, the world’s largest trees are much heavier and may be able to store more carbon than previously thought.