Zero-Carbon Transition – Latest signals of change (23.04.21)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.
In response to calls from the private sector, investors, scientists, states, cities and citizens for climate ambition, U.S. President Joe Biden announced an increase to the country’s 2030 emission reduction target to 50-52% below 2005 levels. The NDC update follows an open letter to the Biden administration organized by the We Mean Business coalition and Ceres and signed by over 400 businesses and investors with a footprint in the United States. The Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign has reached the milestone of over 500 companies – headquartered in 46 countries and spanning 48 sectors, including some of highest emitters such as air transportation, power, chemicals and mining️. The campaign has welcomed a host of new companies this week including Apple, Walmart and Twitter. Amazon and Global Optimism have announced that more than 100 companies are now committed to The Climate Pledge, with over 50 new signatories signing up to the Pledge on April 21, including Colgate-Palmolive, PepsiCo and Visa. The Climate Group hosted over 100 events via its online events portal as part of US Climate Action Week, bringing together leaders from business, government and the climate community. Race to Zero announced that almost a fifth of FTSE 100 companies, with a market capitalization of about 715 billion pounds ($987 billion), have committed to the campaign. Leading finance firms with more than $70tn assets have signed up to the newly launched Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, pledging to set targets to cut the carbon content of their assets by 2030, while 43 banks have announced the formation of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, which will work to align the industry with Paris targets. The mobile sector is first to hit crucial ‘tipping point’ under the Race to Zero Breakthroughs for industry-wide systems change – with over a third of the industry now “credibly committed” to 2050 net zero goals. The UK government has increased its emissions reduction target to 78% by 2035, while the UK chancellor has called to radically overhaul the Treasury’s response to the climate crisis. The EU has reached a provisional agreement to increase its net GHG emissions target to at least 55% by 2030, setting the bloc on course to be the first climate neutral continent by 2050. The Philippines is revising up its target to cut GHG emissions to a 75% reduction by 2030. Members of the US Congress have reintroduced a resolution in support of a Green New Deal, calling for zero-emission energy sources and overhauling transportation. China and the US have published a joint statement saying they are committed to working together and with other countries on tackling climate change.
Zero Carbon Energy
US professional services company Deloitte has joined the EP100 initiative, run by the Climate Group. UK power utilities National Grid and Western Power Distribution have committed to the Business Ambition for 1.5ºC campaign. A group of US power companies has expressed support for a clean electricity standard that would reduce electric-sector emissions by 80% in less than a decade. The US’ top miners’ union has said it will back the White House’s plan to transition fossil fuel industries to RE production if the Biden administration can guarantee the preservation of jobs. Coal financing costs have surged as investors demand returns four times as high as the payoff from clean energy investment to justify the escalating risk. The US said it will challenge countries failing to cut their reliance on coal and whose inaction on the climate crisis is setting the world back. Texas is set to add a record 10 GW of utility-scale solar capacity by the end of 2022 – quickly catching up to California, which has the most capacity of any US state with 16 GW. Stanwell Corporation, Australia’s largest power generator and third-largest GHG emitter, plans to transition from fossil fuels to renewables, including curtailing the output of its coal-fired power plants, while farmers in New South Wales are demanding a ban on coal and gas mining in the region. Ikea plans to accelerate its investment in RE by spending an extra $4.8bn by the end of the decade to build wind and solar farms, while fitting its stores with EV charge points. Amazon has announced plans for nine new “utility-scale” wind and solar energy projects, making it the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy globally with an electricity production capacity of 8.5 GW.
Toyota will introduce 15 battery electric vehicle models globally by 2025, expanding its EV lineup to around 70 models from currently offered 55, and has pledged to achieve ‘carbon neutrality’ by 2050. Volvo Trucks has announced it is aiming for half its European sales to be electric by the end of the decade as it outlined plans to boost its range of ZEV. Mercedes has unveiled its largest and most luxurious electric car yet – indicating that EVs are becoming synonymous with the idea of luxury cars. Chinese car makers, including Geely, Nio and Xpeng, have launched more than a dozen new EV models to appeal to the younger customers in the country. Shipping companies that represent more than 90% of the global fleet have called on the world’s governments to tax its carbon emissions, saying the measure is needed to tackle climate change and could incentivize ship owners to invest in new technology.
Zero-Carbon Built Environment & Heavy Industry
UK steel construction company Severfield has joined the Climate Group’s SteelZero initiative. Two startups cutting emissions from the use of concrete have won a $20 million contest from the Xprize Foundation. Swedish chemicals group Perstorp Holding has committed to set a science-based target, while UK chemicals group Johnson Matthey has joined the Business Ambition for 1.5ºC campaign and Asia Cement Corporation – a Taiwan-based construction materials company – has had its science-based target approved.
Zero-Carbon Land Use & Nature Based Solutions
Mars has formed the Supplier Leadership on Climate Transition coalition to mobilize suppliers on climate action. JPMorgan Chase has agreed to expand its policies addressing deforestation, with upcoming requirements from its clients in the palm oil sector as well as around timber, pulp and paper and mining. Panama – which boasts rainforests on about 65% of its land, as well as mangrove and cloud forest ecosystems – is ramping up its efforts to stop the illegal logging of forests largely driven by the expansion of agriculture.