Signals amidst the noise
June 2, 2021
We curate the latest news on government, finance and corporate net zero commitments from around the world. Here is today’s update.
What’s the difference between linear and exponential progress? Well, if you take thirty linear steps forward from where you are right now, you will arrive somewhere fairly nearby. If you could take thirty exponential steps – each one twice as far as the one before – you would literally arrive on the moon! When it comes to the scale of changes needed to reach net zero emissions on time, we need to take exponential steps. The good news is that it’s possible. Thanks to the hard work of so many people, the signals of just this past week on the exponential progress to shift away from fossil fuels has us thinking we’re definitely on the way! What do you think?
- Shell was ordered by a court in the company’s home country of The Netherlands to cut emissions 45% by 2030 when compared to 2019 levels. The case was brought against Shell by Friends of the Earth Netherlands, and included over 17,000 plaintiffs.The ruling requires the emissions cuts across all ‘scopes’ which will impact on company operations as well as end users of their products.
- ExxonMobil shareholders voted against the company’s management, replacing two board members with new directors nominated by climate activist investment group, Engine No.1, which owns 0.02% of the company’s stock. The new directors will push at board level for greener transition strategies at the company. ExxonMobil’s second largest shareholder, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is understood to have supported the Engine No.1 campaign.
- Chevron shareholders voted to reduce scope 3 emissions from customers’ use of their products. 61% of shareholders voted in favour of the activist proposal from Dutch campaign group Follow This. Two additional proposals fell short of passing, with 48% of shareholders voting to (a) require the company to disclose how its business would be impacted by a 2050 global net zero scenario; and (b) for more detailed disclosure of Chevron’s lobbying activities. The win against Chevron was the third successful insurrection coordinated by Follow This, after it forced through votes to cut emissions at ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 earlier this month.
- The Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance announced 5 new members managing $900 billion.
- Several top lenders to the steel sector – Citi, Goldman Sachs, ING, Societe Generale, Standard Chartered and UniCredit – formed the Steel Climate-Aligned Finance Working Group, facilitated by RMI, to define common standards of action for steel sector decarbonisation through a collective climate-aligned finance agreement.
- Unilever announced a partnership with food-tech company ENOUGH to bring more plant-based meat products to the market.
- Nasdaq announced it had acquired a majority stake in Puro.earth, an online marketplace offering verifiable and tradeable industrial carbon removal services to leading corporates such as Microsoft.
- Stripe announced $8 million in carbon offset purchases from 6 carbon removal companies through its Stripe Climate Program as part of efforts to help “build a robust market for carbon removal by supporting early stage companies as they scale.”
- Microsoft launched the Green Software Foundation with Github, Accenture and ThoughtWorks – a non-profit aimed at cutting emissions across the software industry 45% by 2030.
- The University of Chicago founded Climate Vault, a new non-profit to tackle the “credibility problems and opacity of voluntary offset programs”.
- The SME Climate Hub is supporting the UK government’s new campaign, Together for our Planet, to encourage and support SMEs to commit to halving their emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050.
- The UK joined Canada as the second G7 country to back the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), which aims to drive $500 million into nature-based ocean climate solutions by 2030.
- The UK government announced £166 million to develop green technologies, including carbon capture, greenhouse gas removal and hydrogen, while creating 60,000 jobs.
- The UK’s Environment Agency pledged to use low-carbon concrete to build flood defences and other infrastructure projects as part of their roadmap to hit net zero by 2030.
- Germany and Norway opened NordLink, a direct power link that will provide Germany with green energy from Norway as it phases out coal power.
- The Biden administration announced plans to open more than 250,000 acres of the Californian coast to wind development and launched a new NASA initiative to more closely track climate change and its impacts.
- New research and tools:
- UN Environment Program, World Economic Forum and the Economics of Land Degradation released a joint report, State of Finance for Nature, which found investments in nature-based solutions must triple by 2030 and increase four-fold by 2050 if the world is to meet its climate change, biodiversity and land degradation targets.
- UN-backed Natural Capital Finance Alliance launched ENCORE (Exploring Natural Capital Opportunities, Risks and Exposure) – a tool to help users better understand and visualise the impact of environmental change on the economy.
- The Shape and Pace of Change in the Transport Transition, a new report commissioned by the We Mean Business Coalition, finds the uptake of EVs is surging up and following an ‘S-curve’ growth.
Thanks for reading this week’s digest, we hope you found it useful. Prior ‘Signals Amidst the Noise’ digests – and there are quite a few now! – are available here.
This week our podcast, Outrage + Optimism will feature Adam Gardner on why the organisation he co-founded with Lauren Sullivan, Reverb, is starting a Music Climate Revolution. Don’t miss it! Available wherever you get your podcasts or at globaloptimism.com/podcasts.