Zero-Carbon Transition: May signals of changeThe We Mean Business coalition
Here are just some of the signals of change from the past month, demonstrating the transition to a resilient, zero-carbon future remains underway. Find out more here >
The European Union’s proposed €750 billion coronavirus recovery fund will have green strings attached, with 25% of all funding earmarked for climate action. The number of companies signing one of the high-profile, open letters calling for governments to ensure stimulus helps accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy by 2050, at the latest, reached over 700. More than 150 of these companies signed the “Uniting Business and Governments to Recover Better” statement and are are committed to science-based targets. In the US, more than 330 businesses virtually convened as part of Ceres’ LEAD on Climate campaign, to call on US federal lawmakers to build back a better economy by infusing resilient, long-term climate solutions into future economic recovery plans. These efforts build on letters from national business groups including in Germany, Spain, France, Slovenia and Australia. Meanwhile, Rwanda has become the first African country to release an enhanced climate target to the UN, and the European microstate of Andorra also submitted its updated Nationally Determined Contribution. New analysis by Oxford University found that “green projects create more jobs, deliver higher short-term returns per dollar spend and lead to increased long-term cost savings, by comparison with traditional fiscal stimulus.” And the Corporate Leaders’ Group (CLG) Europe’s new report Working towards a climate neutral Europe: Jobs and skills in a changing world demonstrates decarbonization policies are essential if we want a resilient and sustainable labour market.
The German government has reached a compromise agreement to accelerate the rollout of wind turbines and solar panels and raised its 2030 offshore wind target to 20 GW. Denmark is planning the world’s most ambitious offshore wind project with two giant “energy islands”. UK energy services company Mitie, US food manufacturer General Mills and Australian software company Interactive have committed to switching to 100% renewable energy with RE100, taking the total number of members to over 235. Google will no longer supply artificial intelligence technology to aid oil and gas extraction. India’s Adani Green Energy, which operates one of the largest solar photovoltaic plants in the world, and Brazilian energy company AES Tietê, have both committed to set a science-based target. A coalition of 40 global companies, including renewable energy majors Iberdrola and Orsted, have called on governments to support “a massive wave of investments in renewable electricity” as part COVID-19 recovery plans. France’s Total is the latest oil and gas major to commit to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, following engagement led by Climate Action 100+. The UK’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has signalled its intention to aim for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. And solar and onshore wind power are now the cheapest sources of new electricity in more than two-thirds of all countries, according to a BNEF report.
The French government is to use COVID-19 stimulus measures to accelerate the switch to low-emission vehicles. Swedish rail transport company MTR Nordic Group and Japanese air transportation services company Ana Holdings Inc. have committed to set a science-based target. Australian Postal Corporation, which includes air freight operations, and RATP, which is responsible for most of the public transport in the Parisian region, have also committed to set science-based targets. US rail-freight company CSX Corporation, US trucking company EARP Distribution, Spanish auto component company Gestamp and Finland’s Nokian Tyres have all had their science-based targets approved. The world’s tenth largest truck maker Scania has had its science-based target approved as being 1.5ºC aligned. And a four-lane motorway through post-lockdown Brussels has been transformed to accommodate more cyclists, as the popularity of cycling continues to rise.
Zero-Carbon Built Environment & Heavy Industry
Danish renewable power company Ørsted launched the first major green hydrogen project to exclusively target the transport sector. Japanese construction and engineering company Tokyu Construction Co., German real estate company alstria office REIT-AG and German engineering and technology company Robert Bosch GmbH have had their science-based targets approved, along with Mahindra Accelo, an Indian producer of metal products for the auto and energy sector. US real estate company Digital Realty has committed to set a science-based target. The Australian government is making up to $300m available for developing new hydrogen. The UK government has unveiled proposals to decarbonise the country’s heating systems. Portugal is planning a new hydrogen plant as part of a ‘green’ post-coronavirus recovery and the hydrogen house in the UK is the ‘greenest in Europe’.