Signals amidst the noise
May 14, 2021
We curate the latest news on government, finance and corporate net zero commitments from around the world. Here is today’s update.
Here are more new net zero announcements from the past week. We are delighted to share these with you for celebration of these strong signals – and the fact they are announced publicly allows for scrutiny of delivery. All of this is vital if we are to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and the demands of science.
And, as a reminder of the exceptional pace of real change currently underway, we note that the IEA just released its new forecast for renewable energy growth, which is now 25% higher than it was in November 2020, and 40% higher than in May 2020!
- Sir David Attenborough was named COP26 People’s Advocate and will address world leaders and the public ahead of and at COP26 – video here.
- The EU’s carbon price hit a new record high of €50 per metric ton.
- Eleven EU countries signed a declaration calling on the EU to stop funding fossil fuels under its trans-European energy infrastructure regulation, which is currently under revision.
- Germany announced accelerated emissions reduction goals, including achieving net zero by 2045 – previously 2050.
- Argentina launched Green Mondays, a campaign encouraging its citizens to substitute meat with plant-based proteins for one day a week to help the country achieve its climate goals.
- The Biden administration released a preliminary blueprint, Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful, for conserving at least 30% of US lands and waters by 2030.
- Hawaii became the first US state to declare a climate emergency.
- The UK and India agreed to a joint roadmap to combat climate change by 2030, including new collaboration on the clean energy transition and protecting forests, and joint leadership to develop resilient infrastructure in climate vulnerable countries.
- JLL and Iron Mountain joined The Climate Pledge and committed to achieving net zero by 2040.
- Macquarie announced plans to stop financing coal projects by 2024.
- Asian Development Bank announced it would no longer finance coal mining or oil and natural gas production and exploration in a draft policy statement.
- The Polymers in Liquid Formulations (PLFs) Taskforce launched, seeking to make the carbon-intensive field of PLFs – found in paint, cosmetics, shampoos and adhesives – more sustainable. Founding partners include Unilever, Crown Paints and Croda.
- Zero Carbon Committed launched – a new initiative led by VMWare to accelerate the transition to zero carbon clouds through powering data centres with renewable energy. Inaugural partners include Microsoft and IBM.
- Co-op UK announced its own-brand food and drink will be carbon neutral by 2025 and unveiled its plan to achieve net zero by 2040.
- LATAM Airlines Group announced ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
- Pandora, the world’s largest jewellery brand, announced plans to stop sourcing mined diamonds and use lab grown alternatives as it seeks to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.
- Amazon Web Services launched the AWS Clean Energy Accelerator to “help start-ups working in clean energy accelerate their impact, access additional resources, and expand their reach”.
- Mars cat food brand SHEBA launched the world’s largest coral reef restoration program in partnership with the Nature Conservancy, aiming to restore over 85,000 square meters of coral reefs globally by 2029.
- Natural Capital Partners announced a merger with ClimateCare to form a “world-leading voluntary carbon market organisation”.
- Over 99% of Unilever’s shareholders voted in favour of the company’s climate transition action plan to achieve net zero across its supply chain by 2039.
- IEA: Renewable Energy Market Update 2021, describes how exceptionally high capacity additions of renewables will become the new normal this year and next.
- China’s emissions have exceeded the combined emissions of all developed country members of the OECD, as well as all 27 EU member states, according to analysis by Rhodium Group.
- Latest warming projections from the Climate Action Tracker predict that global temperature will rise 2.4C by 2100 even if all current NDCs are fulfilled.
- UNEP’s Global Methane Assessment finds the world needs to cut 40-45% of human-caused methane emissions by 2030 to prevent 0.3C of warming by 2045. This reduction would prevent 260,000 premature deaths, 73 billion hours of lost labour from extreme heat, and 25 million tons of crop losses annually.
- The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions – IEA.
- On Target: How to Succeed with Carbon Reduction Initiatives – McKinsey & Co.
Thanks for reading this week’s digest – lots to unpack there – we hope you found it useful. Last week’s bumper Biden Summit roundup is available here.
This week our podcast, Outrage + Optimism, will feature inaugural President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund, Andrew Steer. Don’t miss it this Thursday! Available wherever you get your podcasts or at globaloptimism.com/podcasts