Saturday, December 4, 2021

No hand-twisting: Kerry says corporates plan to cut CO2

GENEVA (AP) – A new project trumpeted by US President Joe Biden in which companies channel the development of low-carbon technologies through their purchasing power hails a “big change”, US climate envoy John Kerry said on Thursday. .

“First Movers Coalition” ”, led by the US government and the World Economic Forum, aims to help meet an increasingly difficult goal set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 °C. So far, nearly three dozen global companies across multiple sectors have committed to changing their buying practices in favor of the development of zero-emissions technologies by 2030.

The idea is to jumpstart budding or not yet existing technologies that can reduce how much CO2 rises in the atmosphere by taking advantage of the market – especially the purchasing power of companies – to encourage their suppliers to clean up, so that they can do it too. Biden talked about the project as the UN-backed climate conference known as COP26 gets underway in Glasgow.

“It’s a big change. It’s a big deal,” Kerry told several corporate leaders behind the project in Glasgow on Thursday. “Everyone I’ve talked to when they learned about it would say Are: ‘Wow, that makes sense. That’s great.’ And you all understood it effortlessly and without moving your hands.”

The project’s designers say that half of the projected emissions reductions between now and 2030 will stem from innovations – such as taking carbon out of the air – that aren’t working on a large scale. Cutting CO2 for large companies’ suppliers will help them create bigger markets and ultimately lower costs, the thinking goes.

“If we don’t get a substantial reduction somewhere in the 45% range over the next 10 years, we’re flying by 1.5 degrees — and that’s a tough target,” Kerry said, calling the private sector “that way.” Thanks for moving forward. Some governments are not.”

The first phase focuses on aviation, shipping, steel and trucking, and three more industries – aluminum, cement and chemicals – are to come on board later. The WEF says the seven industries account for about one-third of total global carbon emissions.

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“Volvo says we’re going to buy X% – 10% of our vehicles are going to be made of green steel,” Kerry said. “And so, all of a sudden, the people making Green Steel know, ‘Hey, there’s someone out there waiting to buy it.'”

But even partner companies that aren’t revolutionizing their plans just yet have committed to making changes to at least one of their buying areas — so not necessarily company-wide.

Questions also remain about both metrics and monitoring, which could equate to a “greenwashing” effort if firms try to quietly exit their commitments.

“We are going to have very strict metrics and strict follow-up on this,” said Borges Brande, president of the Geneva-based WEF, which is known for its annual conference of government and corporate leaders in Davos, Switzerland.

“Be assured: we are on it,” he said in a phone interview.

He said the initiative is no substitute for government regulation to help curb global warming, which would still be needed, and that companies could face higher prices by putting pressure on suppliers. Brande said the idea builds on commitments already in the finance sector, exemplified through carbon-reduction strategies at investment companies such as BlackRock and Carlyle.

The coalition hopes to expand that effort in finance to many more areas. US-based companies including Amazon, Apple, Boeing and Delta Airlines are participating, as are European aircraft maker Airbus, Germany’s Deutsche Post, Swedish energy company Vattenfall and India’s Dalmia Cement.

“This means they will be very difficult in the years to come — even in hard-to-exempt areas,” Brende said, referring to areas in which cutting carbon is particularly difficult. . “And if you want to sell to these companies, you have to reduce your carbon footprint. And I’m pretty sure that signal will be received – and it will lead to the breakthrough of the new technology.”

___ . Follow AP’s coverage of the climate conference on.


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