Signals amidst the noise

July 7, 2021 

 

We curate the latest news on government, finance and corporate net zero commitments from around the world. Here is today’s update.

 

As heatwaves make the headlines in much of the Pacific Northwest, and Barbados is hit by a violent hurricane for the first time in 60 years, way down in the south New Zealand is seeing an alarmingly warm winter. If you’re reading this, you probably already know that climate change is impacting on societies everywhere. This kind of news can be challenging – but it’s also important to use this moment to fuel the conviction to make the changes that are necessary to build resilient societies and avoid the runaway point of exceeding 1.5C of global warming. Every action and effort to turn things around contributes to a wider global effort. Here’s a snapshot of actions from governments, finance and companies over the past week or so.

 

 

Image: Unsplash

Governments

 

  • A group of more than 60 House Republicans formed a Conservative Climate Caucus to discuss how to use the free market, innovation, and resources to fight climate change.
  • Canada banned the sale of fuel-burning new cars and light-duty trucks from 2035.
  • Australia’s federal court has declared that the environment minister has a duty to take reasonable care that young people won’t be harmed or killed by carbon emissions if she approves a coal mine expansion.
  • Bangladesh cancelled plans to build 10 coal fired power plants amid rising costs for the fuel and increasing calls from activists to base more of the nation’s power on renewable energy.
  • Gabon became the first African country to receive payment for reducing carbon emissions by protecting its rainforest.
  • Japan pledged $10 billion in lending and investments from the Japanese private and public sectors to decarbonise Asia as part of its Asian Energy Transition Initiative.
  • The UK government and major British brands such as Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and the Co-op are set to launch a traffic light system on food and drinks packaging ranking the environmental impact of items, allowing customers to make climate friendly choices.
  • The UK committed to ending all coal fired electricity generation from October 2024, bringing forward the end date by one year.
  • The Office for Budget Responsibility said the UK’s transition to net zero emissions could cost the government less over 30 years than the pandemic has cost in two.
  • The Office for Budget Responsibility said the UK’s transition to net zero emissions could cost the government less over 30 years than the pandemic has cost in two.
  • The European Parliament formally approved a law making the EU’s emissions reduction targets legally binding.
  • France’s highest administrative council, the Conseil d’Etat, told the French government to act now against climate change to ensure it meets its emissions reduction commitments, or else it could face potential fines.
  • France published a set of binding targets for corporate climate disclosures requiring investors at 230 firms to set interim emissions reduction goals every 5 years to 2050; set targets to protect biodiversity; follow TCFD recommendations; declare their percentage of green assets; and declare their exposure to fossil fuel companies.

Finance

 

  • The International Monetary Fund proposed an international carbon price floor for large emitters that could help reduce emissions 32% by 2030.
  • The World Bank Group announced a new Climate Change Action Plan that aims to deliver record levels of climate finance to developing countries, reduce emissions, strengthen adaptation, and align financial flows with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • The FCA published new proposals to extend its TCFD-aligned disclosure requirements to most UK-listed companies and asset managers, life insurers and FCA-regulated pension providers.
  • South Korea’s three major non-life insurers announced they will stop coverage for new coal power projects following pressure from Korea Beyond Coal.
  • Generali, Italy’s largest insurer, committed to carbon neutrality for its direct investment portfolio by 2050. Generali also pledged up to €9.5 billion for green and sustainable investments from 2021-2025, with the aim of fully phasing out investments in companies in the thermal coal sector by 2030 in OECD countries and 2040 worldwide.
  • The Net Zero Asset Managers initiative announced 41 new signatories, with the sector reaching a net zero tipping point with almost half of the world’s assets under management now committed to net zero by 2050. 
  • Investors with over €3.6 trillion worth of assets under management have formed a new coalition – Investors for a Just Transition – accelerating a just low carbon transition in Europe. Founding members include Amundi, Aviva France and AXA.
  • The Banking for Impact group announced a partnership with Harvard Business School to create a new reporting system that measures the environmental and social impact of their financing.
  • IKEA Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation announced plans to launch a $1 billion platform to fight climate change and energy poverty.

 

 

Image: Shutterstock

 

Corporations

 

  • Carnival Corporation and Johnson & Johnson committed to achieving carbon neutral operations by 2050 and 2030, respectively.
  • Public Service Enterprise Group accelerated its net zero commitment from 2050 to 2030 and said it would put half its current 2021-2025 capital spending towards emissions reduction, decarbonisation, adaptation and the clean energy transition.
  • Facebook achieved net zero operation emissions and 100% renewable energy for its global operations in 2020.
  • Reliance Industries – operator of the world’s largest refining complex – announced it would invest over $10 billion in clean energy over three years in a drive to become net zero by 2035.
  • BP CEO Bernard Looney told Reuters that BP will continue producing hydrocarbons for decades to come and, because of rising oil prices, be able to sell assets and use the money to build its low carbon and renewables business.
  • Klarna joined The Climate Pledge and committed to net zero carbon by 2040.
  • Ball Corporation committed to net zero emissions by 2050.
  • The UK’s Environmental Services Association, which represents 85% of the UK’s waste management sector, committed to net zero by 2040.
  • General Motors created a new $25 million Climate Equity Fund to help close equity gaps in sustainable technology and the transition to EVs.
  • Rolls-Royce partnered with Shell to accelerate the development and certification of 100% SAF, in line with both their plans for net zero emissions by 2050. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear directly from Shell CEO Ben van Beurden about Shell’s strategy to fuel the future and respond to the recent Dutch court ruling on the most recent Outrage + Optimism podcast.
  • The Climate Crisis Advisory Group launched, bringing together fourteen of the world’s leading climate experts to help inform the public, governments and financial institutions by providing them with comprehensive science and guidance towards action for climate repair.
  • The Net Zero Lawyers Alliance launched – members pledge to achieve net zero by 2050 and build understanding of net zero legislation and policies across the legal profession.
  • A panel of lawyers for the Stop Ecocide Foundation have proposed a legal definition for ecocide in the hope that the proposed definition might serve as the basis of consideration for an amendment to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
  • The International Air Transport Association, the airline industry’s global trade group, is set to propose the industry adopt a net zero target for 2050 at its annual meeting in October.
  • Business demand for renewable energy through the RE100 initiative is now greater than the energy demand of G7 countries.
  • Every Action Counts launched – a partnership that aims to harness the power to green consumer behaviours to enhance biodiversity and climate efforts.

 

 

Image: Shutterstock

Research and tools

  • The UN High Level Champions and Oxford Net Zero have designed a toolkit to help to better identify credible net zero commitments and those that miss the mark.
  • A new report by Carbon Tracker finds a vast majority of new coal power plants being planned will struggle to make back their upfront costs, including all of those under construction in China.
  • The American Petroleum Institute released a new framework to standardise how oil and gas companies track and report their emissions and prompt comparable reporting from one company to another.
  • Building and operating new solar and wind plants is now cheaper than running existing coal and gas fired power plants in nearly half the world, according to BloombergNEF.
  • IRENA’s Renewable Power Generation Costs report also finds that the cost of new and existing coal fired plants is being undercut by that of renewable energy costs.

 

Thanks for reading this week’s net zero news digest, we hope you found it useful. Prior issues of ‘Signals Amidst the Noise’ are available here

 

This week our podcast, Outrage + Optimism takes a deep dive into Shell’s strategy with CEO, Ben van Beurden, after the recent Dutch court ruling the company to cut emissions by 45% by 2030. And today we launched an episode setting out what it will take to win the Race to Resilience Don’t miss it! Available wherever you get your podcasts or at globaloptimism.com/podcasts