Zero-Carbon Transition – Latest signals of change (21.05.21)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.
G7 countries have committed to limiting global warming to 1.5ºC after a two-day meeting of the G7 environment and energy ministers. Over 1,000 small and medium companies have made the SME Climate Commitment. The Norwegian Finance Ministry, the Nordic CEOs for a Sustainable Future and the Oslo Stock Exchange have declared their support for the recommendations of the TCFD, bringing the total number of national governments endorsing the Task Force’s work to 12. The Spanish parliament has approved a new climate law aiming to cut emissions 23% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, and with an overall goal of net-zero by 2050. US President Joe Biden has issued an executive order requiring development of a comprehensive government-wide climate-risk strategy as well as an annual assessment of climate-related fiscal. Deutsche Bank will increase its financing aimed at environmentally sustainable projects to about $268bn by 2023, two years earlier and 10% higher than its existing targets. And a new law in Washington State will create new standards – the most aggressive in the US – that will go into effect in 2023 and mandate that a broad swath of industries essentially eliminate GHG emissions by 2050.
Zero Carbon Energy
G7 countries have agreed to stop international financing of coal projects that emit carbon by the end of this year and phase out such support for all fossil fuels, to meet globally agreed climate change targets. Ending all new coal, oil and gas development this year is needed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and secure the 1.5°C goal, according to a new IEA report, which calls for ‘radical’ shift towards RE, forecasting around $5tn in low carbon energy investments required per year by 2030. The EU Parliament has approved a $21 billion Just Transition Fund that will help most coal-dependent regions in the EU shift to climate-neutral economies. French electricity utility company Engie has joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. German chemical company Altana has committed to 100% renewable electricity with RE100. The UK grid operator National Grid has partnered with the German utility RWE to develop its first offshore wind projects in the US. Brazilian fund manager Perfin has created a new company focused on RE generation, especially solar, with expected investment totalling $1 bn by 2025. And turbine maker Vesta and a host of experts have unveiled new technology that will enable wind turbine blades to be fully recycle, aiming to present an industry-ready solution within three years.
Brazilian airline Azul and UK storage and logistics company Oakland International Ltd. have joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. Japanese transportation company SAGAWA EXPRESS has committed to set a science-based target and US car manufacturer General Motors had its target approved. Volkswagen-owned brand Lamborghini plans to electrify its entire range by 2024 with a $1.8bn investment in hybrid and all-electric vehicles. A major EV charging ‘superhub’ – capable of delivering up to 300 miles of range to cars in less than 20 minutes – is planned in the UK and forms part of a future network of 40 similar sites across the country, while new data suggests that 24% of UK households intend to buy an electric car in the next five years. The EU’s top official for the European Green Deal has backed the German Greens’ call for tax and pricing changes to make rail travel more popular than flying. And Air France-KLM has launched its first long-haul flight powered by sustainable aviation fuel – derived from waste cooking oils – fuel making up 16% of its supply for the journey.
Zero-Carbon Built Environment & Heavy Industry
Belgian cement and building materials manufacturer TITAN Cement Group and UK sodium carbonate and bicarbonate producer Eti Soda A.S. have committed to set a science-based target.
Zero-Carbon Land Use & Nature Based Solutions
US meat processing company Smithfield Foods, Danish fish feed supplier BioMar Group and UK food producer Addo Food Group have joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. US fast food company Yum! Brands, Inc. had its science-based target approved. The sale of peat compost will be banned by 2024 in the UK and $71m will be given to support the restoration of 35,000 hectares of peatland by 2025 – UK peatland is thought to store three times as much carbon as its forests. Australia is introducing a new scheme, which will see farmers rewarding for reducing emissions and improving biodiversity on their land. And the Central Eurasian desert steppe may be more resilient to climate change than originally thought as scientists have developed methods that could increase plant growth and carbon sequestration and potentially provide a negative feedback on climate change.