Signals amidst the noise
May 26, 2021
We curate the latest news on government, finance and corporate net zero commitments from around the world. Here is today’s update.
For the past 150 years money has been flowing towards polluting technologies. Now it’s changing course to finance the technologies and infrastructure that will power our future with clean energy instead. Many of this week’s updates reaffirm this decisive shift, providing more evidence that the desire for a net-zero, fossil fuel free future is well and truly in the mainstream.
- The G7 reaffirmed their commitment to limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C and announced plans to stop international financing of coal projects by the end of 2021, accelerate the deployment of zero emissions vehicles, decarbonise the power sector in the 2030s, and phase out fossil fuel financing altogether.
- The European Parliament gave its final approval to a $21 billion Just Transition Fund to help the most coal-dependent regions in the EU shift to climate-neutral economies.
- Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) pledged to achieve carbon neutrality for its own operations by 2030 and for its finance portfolio by 2050 and became the first Japanese lender to join the Net Zero Banking Alliance.
- 88.7% of Shell’s shareholders backed the company’s energy transition strategy to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050 and 30.47% of shareholders voted for a second resolution urging the company to set “inspirational” greenhouse gas reduction targets, up from 14.4% for a similar resolution last year.
- Wells Fargo issued a $1 billion inclusive communities and climate bond – its first sustainability bond.
- HSBC announced a 5-year, $100 million philanthropic partnership with WRI and WWF to unlock financial barriers for emerging climate solutions.
- Make My Money Matter and Count Us In launched the world’s first Green Pension Charter – a call to action for pension funds and organisations to commit to decarbonising pension schemes in line with net zero by 2050 by COP26.
- Investors managing $5.35 trillion signed a statement coordinated by Ceres calling on the Biden administration to rapidly advance methane regulations for the US oil and gas sector.
- The Bank of England announced plans to shift its purchased corporate bond holdings to companies acting to reduce their emissions.
- 36 faith institutions across 11 countries committed to divesting from fossil fuels, stating they have a moral imperative to help combat climate change.
- The EnergyTag Initiative launched, seeking to define and build a market for hourly electricity certificates by allowing customers to “tag” electricity with the time and source of production to ensure clean power is constantly available.
- The Sustainable Markets Initiative launched the Hydrogen Taskforce to accelerate the demand for and supply of clean hydrogen, chaired by BP’s CEO Ben van Beurden.
- The Global Cement and Concrete Association launched the Innovandi Open Challenge, a new global competition to accelerate the commercialisation of carbon-neutral concrete.
- The Circular Economy for Thermosets Epoxy Composites launched – a new initiative led by Vesta to advance a circular economy across the wind industry by enabling the adoption of a new technology solution capable of fully recycling wind turbine blades.
- Democrat lawmakers introduced the Sustainable Skies Act to create a tax credit for SAF production. A coalition of 50 groups and businesses sent a letter to lawmakers supporting the bill.
- Three of the UK’s nuclear, wind and solar industry groups called on lawmakers to adopt a 2035 target for a net zero grid.
- Spain approved a new climate law aiming for a circular and carbon neutral economy by 2050.
- The UK launched its first Emissions Trading System, with carbon prices reaching over $70 per ton.
- The Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets – launched by Mark Carney in 2020 to scale an effective and efficient voluntary carbon market – is requesting public input on its market governance body, the legal principles of the market, and its definition of high-quality carbon credits.
- The Biden administration signed an executive order on climate-related financial risk, directing all government agencies to launch or expand efforts to analyse and lessen economic risks from climate change.
- Viridor, the UK waste management company, committed to achieving net zero by 2040 and net negative emissions by 2045.
- Bayer announced a research collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute and ETH Zurich to develop nature-based solutions capable of counteracting biodiversity loss in agriculture.
- New tools and research:
- Climate Impact X – a new marketplace for high-quality carbon credits using satellite monitoring, machine learning and blockchain technology to enhance the credibility of carbon credits.
- The Role of Natural Climate Solutions in Corporate Climate Commitments A Brief for Investors – Ceres and IIGCC.
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 Jerome Foster II, climate justice youth activist and newly appointed member of the Environmental Justice Advisory Council to the White House. Don’t miss it this Thursday! Available wherever you get your podcasts or at globaloptimism.com/podcasts