Zero-Carbon Transition: Latest signals of change (24.07.2020)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 remains underway.
EU leaders have agreed the largest ever climate pledge, with 30% of the overall €1.8 trillion budget and recovery package earmarked for green projects over the next seven years. Meanwhile, the UK Government has outlined a £350 million package for green recovery measures. Business leaders and policy makers can find out more about backing Europe’s climate-neutral future with CLG’s Green recovery knowledge hub. A group of leading companies including Microsoft, Nike and Unilever have launched the Transform to Net Zero initiative to help businesses achieve zero-carbon emissions no later than 2050, in collaboration with BSR and the Environmental Defense Fund. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s first investment from its $1 billion climate fund will be in venture capital firm Energy Impact Partners. The world’s largest company by market cap Apple has upped its climate commitments, pledging to be carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain and product life cycle by 2030. Morgan Stanley has committed to publicly disclose how much its loans and investments contribute to climate change. And an Australian law student is suing the Australian government for failing to disclose financial risks from climate change.
Spanish bank Grupo Cooperativo Cajamar has committed to 100% renewable electricity with RE100. Renewables have secured a record share of global electricity production since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Reuters review of data. Renewables generated 40% of the EU’s total electricity in the first half 2020, overtaking fossil fuels (34%). New York is seeking bids to buy enough renewable electricity to power 1.5 million homes. Vodafone has switched all of its European network to renewable energy, as part of its commitment to 100% renewable electricity with RE100. Two new scientific studies point to major breakthroughs in the efficiency of producing solar power. Finnish biofuel producer and oil refiner Neste has boosted earnings with its shift to renewable fuels. Spanish oil major Repsol SA has signed a joint venture to enter the renewable market in Chile.
Zero-Carbon Built Environment & Heavy Industry
UK property development companies The British Land Company and Canary Wharf Group have both committed to set a science-based target, along with German real estate company alstria office REIT and UK road management company Kier Highways. The UN and IEA have called for stricter standards on air conditioning units to improve energy efficiency and cut HFCs. Tata Steel is looking to replace two blast furnaces at its UK operations with electric arc furnaces. A group of gas infrastructure companies plan to create a dedicated hydrogen pipeline network in the EU. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called for gas boilers to be banned in the UK from 2025.
The UK government has launched the Jet Zero Council with the aim of creating the first net-zero, long-haul passenger flights and tackle aviation emissions. A UK firm plans to build the world’s first mass-transit hybrid electric plane. In the US, the EPA has proposed new regulations on airline emissions, but these standards are already being met by airlines. New research shows that electric vehicles (EVs) are now cheaper to own than petrol cars. And Tesla has reported a profit for a fourth straight quarter, reversing a long-standing loss-making streak.