Signals amidst the noise

April 28, 2021 

We curate updates on government, finance and corporate net zero news weekly from the world’s media. Here is today’s update.

What a bumper week for net zero announcements and progress towards the future we choose! 

Biden’s climate summit with 40 world leaders, those accounting for more than 80% of emissions globally and those whose countries are already suffering some of the most devastating impacts of the climate crisis, was a moment of extraordinary momentum last week. We saw determination from multiple governments to secure the necessary descent of emissions, which must be reduced by half by 2030. On top of that a host of corporate commitments came into view. 

We note that alongside this extraordinary momentum, there is still a healthy amount of skepticism amongst climate activists, who want to see more than ambitious statements and targets for cutting emissions as science demands in the 2020s: they want to see clear delivery plans for realising them. Our favourite quote from the Biden summit came from activist Xiye Bastida, who so beautifully articulated why people are rising up: ‘Because we are striving for joy. Joy for our communities and future generations.’ 

 

New national emissions reduction targets announced at Biden’s climate summit:

 

  • USA – committed to reducing emissions 50-52% against 2005 baseline and doubling climate finance to developing countries by 2024.
  • UK – committed to reducing emissions 78% by 2035 against 1990 baseline. The new pledge will incorporate the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions for the first time.
  • EU – committed to reducing emissions at least 55% by 2030 against 1990 baseline.
  • Canada – increased its emissions reduction target from 40% to 45% by 2030 against 2005 baseline.
  • Japan – raised its emissions reduction target from 26% to 46% by 2030 against 2013 baseline.
  • Brazil – pledged to end illegal deforestation by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
  • South Korea – said it would end all new public financing to overseas coal projects and submit new emissions targets later this year.
  • China – the world’s largest consumer of coal announced it will attempt to “strictly limit increasing coal consumption” over the next 5 years.

  • The Race to Zero announced that almost a fifth of FTSE 100 companies, with a market capitalisation of £715 billion, have committed to the campaign; declared the mobile sector as the first to reach an industry ‘breakthrough’ with over one third of the industry now credibly committed to net zero by 2050; and welcomed 9 Global Ambassadors to help build awareness around the campaign.
  • RMI and EDF launched the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance – supported by founding companies such as Boeing, BCG, Deloitte, Microsoft, Netflix and Salesforce – to drive investment in high quality SAF.
  • The Solar Access for All Coalition launched to ensure US federal efforts to expand solar power don’t leave BIPOC and low income, rural communities behind. 

Image: Shutterstock


Money moves:

 

  • The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) was launched– a new global alliance of net zero finance initiatives bringing together over 160 firms, representing $70 trillion in assets, to accelerate the transition to a net zero economy as one sector-wide strategic forum.
  • The Net Zero Banking Alliance– a new GFANZ initiative involving 43 banks with $28.5 trillion in assets – was launched to align the banking sector’s climate commitments with the Paris Agreement goals. 
  • UNEP FI unveiled plans for a Net Zero Insurance Alliance – an upcoming GFANZ initiative for insurers and reinsurers expected to launch at COP26.
  • The IIGCC called on banking firms to set enhanced net zero targets for 2050 or sooner, including interim goals.
  • Aviva set out a series of proposals and recommendations to G7 and G20 nations it believes will enable the global financial system to tackle the climate crisis in an effective and cohesive way.
  • The US Treasury Department announced a new Climate Hub to facilitate and unlock financing for climate-friendly investments, to make environmental justice central to Treasury’s efforts, and to mitigate climate-related risks to the financial system.
  • Amazon, Airbnb, Bayer, Boston Consulting Group, GSK, McKinsey, Nestlé, Salesforce, Unilever and the governments of the UK, US and Norway announced the LEAF Coalition (Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance) – a new public-private initiative designed to accelerate climate action by providing results-based finance to countries committed to protecting their tropical forests. The initiative aims to mobilise at least $1 billion in financing. 

Image: Shutterstock


Net zero transition:

 

  • The Climate Pledge announced reaching over 100 signatories. Among the 52 new signatories joining The Climate Pledge are AECOM, Colgate-Palmolive, Heineken, PepsiCo, Royal Philips, Sainsbury’s, Telefonica, and Visa.
  • WPP committed  to net zero by 2030 across its entire supply chain.
  • HP committed to net zero by 2040 across its value chain.
  • WSP announced a commitment to net zero by 2040 across its value chain.
  • MSCI committed to net zero before 2040.
  • Suntory announced a commitment to net zero by 2050 across its value chain.
  • Toyota committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
  • International Airlines Group, owner of British Airways and other airlines, committed to powering 10% of its flights with SAF by 2030.
  • PepsiCo unveiled its Positive Agriculture strategy to scale regenerative agriculture practices across 7 million acres – roughly equal to its entire footprint ­– to eliminate 3 million tons of GHG emissions from its supply chain by the end of 2030.
  • Unilever unveiled the world’s first laundry capsule made from industrial carbon emissions.
  • Ingka Group, the owner of most IKEA stores, committed €4 billion to invest in wind and solar projects, EV charging points and other green energy projects by 2030.
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Facebook and Microsoft launched the Low Carbon Patent Pledge, an initiative and commitment to make key patents to accelerate the adoption of low carbon technologies available to the public royalty-free.

 

Phew. There’s absolutely no going back to the high polluting emissions trajectory! Thanks for reading this week’s digest, we hope you found it useful. Last week’s roundup is available here.

 

Don’t miss this week’s episode of the Outrage + Optimism podcast with President of the Environmental Defense Fund, Fred Krupp. Available wherever you get your podcasts or at globaloptimism.com/podcasts