Zero-Carbon Transition – Latest signals of change (30.04.21)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.
The Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign has welcomed a host of big name companies, including The Natwest Group, HP Inc. and Dell Technologies. Germany’s top court has demanded changes to the country’s climate law, to protect future generations. A group of Nobel laureates, scientists and experts have issued a call for all countries to “reinvent our relationship with planet Earth” and take comprehensive action this decade to protect ecosystems and combat climate change. France and Germany have presented their national plans under the EU’s pandemic recovery package, and pledged to spend 50% and 40%, respectively, of the funds on climate-related investments. Climate policies consistent with the 1.5ºC limit that redistribute revenues from carbon pricing could help to reduce extreme poverty in developing countries, a new study finds. And leading climate experts have warned that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson must push rich countries to pay billions in climate aid to poorer countries in order to avoid “failure” at COP26.
Zero Carbon Energy
Five companies have joined the RE100 initiative, led by the Climate Group in partnership with CDP, including Airbnb and UK services company Deloitte. UK energy company Drax Group has joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. A Japanese initiative developing a new coal-fired power plant has been cancelled, leaving the country with no new construction on the horizon. Greece has confirmed its last coal plant will be shut in 2025, three years earlier than planned, while Chile is to close half its coal-fired power stations by 2025, 15 years ahead of its previous deadline. Poland’s government and unions have agreed to phase out coal production by 2049 – the agreement marks the first time the country’s powerful coal mining sector has agreed to reduce its presence. New analysis forecasts that 470 GW of onshore and offshore wind capacity will come online globally between 2021 and 2025, creating millions of jobs across the industry’s entire value chain. The German parliament has agreed higher renewable expansion goals for 2022 with higher tender volumes for wind and solar PV installations. California – which produces the third largest amount of oil in the US – has moved to ban fracking by 2024 and halt oil extraction by 2045, becoming the first state to end all extraction. The Methodist Church has sold out almost $29m in Royal Dutch Shell shares because the oil major’s plans were not aligned with the 2015 Paris accord. And Barcelona has installed Spain’s first photovoltaic pavement as part of the city’s drive to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Logistics companies Grupo Sesé and Malherbe and US freight railway company Norfolk Southern Corporation have committed to set a science-based target. The number of EVs is expected to increase from 11 million today to 145 million worldwide by 2030 – or up to 230 million if governments agreed to encourage the production of enough low-carbon vehicles to stay within global climate targets. The UK overtook France to become Europe’s second largest electric car market in the first quarter of the year, with about 31,800 EVs sold in the country during the period. And carmaker Lotus has pledged to build electric sports cars in Britain and to sell “tens of thousands” of EVs by the middle of the decade.
Zero-Carbon Built Environment & Heavy Industry
UK construction company Mace and building services company Watkins Payne Partnership have both joined the EP100 initiative, led by the Climate Group. UK construction and engineering company Osborne Infrastructure Limited has joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. US engineering company Tetra Tech, Italian cement company Cementir Holding N.V. and Chinese chemicals company Sichuan Yongxiang Co. have committed to set a science-based target, while Canadian construction company Multiplex Construction Canada and French real estate company Nexity had theirs approved.
Zero-Carbon Land Use & Nature Based Solutions
Mexican food processing Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV and Canadian pulp and paper company Mercer International have both joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. Swedish dairy company Norrmejerier has committed to set a science-based target, while New Zealander dairy processing company had its target approved. The US, UK and Norway have launched a $1 bn public-private initiative to protect tropical forests and reduce emissions from deforestation, with committed companies Amazon, Airbnb, Bayer, McKinsey, Nestlé and Unilever. No-till farming could slash GHG emissions from crop production by nearly a third and increase how much carbon soils can store. One of the world’s biggest dairy producers based in New Zealand is testing a fermented supplement to cut livestock methane emissions. The popular cooking website Epicurious said it would no longer feature recipes that have beef as an ingredient over concerns about the cattle industry’s effects on climate change. And the Arctic is getting greener, raising hopes that it could help tackle further climate change by absorbing large amounts of planet-warming CO2 emissions – although the change is lower that what scientists might have expected.