Zero-Carbon Transition – Latest signals of change (22.01.21)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 President Joe Biden has committed the US to re-joining the Paris Agreement, just hours after being sworn in as the new president – the US will officially rejoin the agreement in 30 days. Biden also moved to block the Keystone XL pipeline. The clean-tech venture capital fund led by Bill Gates Breakthrough Energy Ventures has raised $1 billion for a second round of investments. The Chamber of Commerce has changed stance to say that it is now open to a carbon tax. UK fintech company Cushon claims to be offering the world’s ‘first’ net-zero pension fund. And the Bank of France is to cut coal from its direct investments by 2024.
China more than doubled its construction of new wind and solar power plants in 2020 from a year earlier, government data showed. Danish wind power pioneer Orsted has given the go-ahead to invest in its first major hydrogen project. The President of European Investment Bank has said that Europe needs to acknowledge that its future is no longer with fossil fuels – “To put it mildly, gas is over,” said Dr Werner Hoyer. A US court has turned down one of former US President Donald Trump’s signature efforts to roll back environmental regulations for the coal industry. Oil and gas producers who refuse to commit to reducing net-zero carbon emissions will be excluded from North Sea drilling licenses. Total SE has become the first major global energy company to quit the main US oil and gas lobby, American Petroleum Institute, due to disagreements over climate policies. And Total has also acquired a 20% stake in the Indian group Adani Green Energy.
French global automotive supplier Valeo has committed to the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign and to setting a science-based target. Chinese parcel delivery company ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc. Has committed to set a science-based target. The EV100 initiative, run by the Climate Group, has welcomed two new joiners – Irish retail company An Post and Canadian telecoms company Quebecor. Car batteries capable of fully charging in five minutes have been produced in a factory for the first time. And Nissan is to expand its battery production plant in Sunderland, UK amid rising demand for its electric cars.
Zero-Carbon Built Environment & Heavy Industry
Baowu Steel Group, China’s top steel producer, has committed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, with a peak in emissions in 2023, before cutting them by 30% by 2035. Chemicals company Johnson Matthey has set out plans to capitalize on the emerging market for green hydrogen. Brazilian miner Vale is taking steps to exit the coal industry, with the sale of its Mozambique coal assets. And Elon Musk is donating $100 million toward a prize for the “best carbon capture technology.”
Zero-Carbon Land Use & Nature-Based Solutions