UK and Chile call for ambitious climate action ahead of COP26

On 24 September 2020, the UK and Chile issued a joint call for ambition on emissions reduction, adaptation and financing plans ahead of COP26.

Speaking during the week of the United Nations General Assembly, COP26 President Designate Alok Sharma and COP25 President Carolina Schmidt urged countries to come together to tackle climate change.

The COP26 President Designate also highlighted an invitation to world leaders to attend a special virtual event on 12 December, the five-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, to come forward with new ambitious commitments.

The COP25 President urged all countries to step up climate action by delivering more ambitious NDCs, adaptation plans, climate finance pledges and long-term strategies to net zero, as soon as possible.

 

 

 

Celebrating one year on from the Climate Ambition Alliance, the #RaceToZero campaign has brought together the largest global alliance committed to net zero

The number of commitments to reach net zero emissions from local governments and businesses has roughly doubled in less than a year, as many prioritize climate action in their recovery from Covid-19. Cities and regions with a carbon footprint greater than the emissions of the US, and companies with a combined revenue of over $11.4 trillion (equivalent to more than half of the US GDP), are now pursuing net zero emissions by the end of the century, according to a major report published by the Data-Driven EnviroLab and the NewClimate Institute today.

The majority of these actors are aiming for a zero-carbon economy by 2050, as part of the UN Race to Zero campaign, the largest alliance of local governments, businesses, investors and others aiming for zero emissions in the 2040s. This now encompasses 22 regions, 452 cities, 1,101 businesses, 549 universities and 45 of the biggest investors. New joiners include:

  • New South Wales: Australia’s most populous state
  • Brambles: the global logistics company that moves more goods to more people than any other organization, supporting thousands of supply chains
  • C.P. Group: an Asian conglomerate and one of the world’s largest agri-food producers
  • Facebook: the world’s largest social media company
  • Ford: the first US full-line automaker committed to reducing CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Agreement
  • LafargeHolcim: the first global building materials company to join Business Ambition for 1.5°C with intermediate targets, approved by the Science Based Targets initiative in alignment with net zero pathway
  • These companies have joined the Race to Zero via the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, by setting science-based targets in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Recognizing the critical yet often overlooked role that small and medium businesses will play in the transition to a zero-carbon economy, today also sees the launch of a new platform, SME Climate Hub, to support small and medium-sized enterprises in joining the Race to Zero. SMEs make up 90 percent of businesses worldwide, employ 2 billion people and have been among the hardest hit by Covid-19.

Corporations such as Ericsson, IKEA, Telia, BT Group and Unilever have committed to support the SME Climate Hub by working closely with the small and medium businesses in their supply chains to reach net zero or negative emissions before 2050.

These announcements will be made on the opening day of Climate Week NYC, Monday, September 21, during the COP26 & the Zero Carbon Growth Agenda event. The discussion features business and government leaders including Alok Sharma, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and COP26 President-Designate; Carolina Schmidt, COP25 President; Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder, Bloomberg LP & Bloomberg Philanthropies, 108th Mayor of New York City; and Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UN Climate Change.

The event will be convened by Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Muñoz, UN High Level Climate Champions and leaders of the Race to Zero campaign, in collaboration with the Climate Group, to showcase how the shift to a zero-carbon economy is accelerating, and the scale of the opportunity to create good jobs, protect public health and address wider social inequities. The event also marks the one year anniversary of the Climate Ambition Alliance, launched at the UNSG’s Climate Action Summit, which Race To Zero is now mobilizing actors outside of national governments to join.

Alok Sharma said: ““Climate change affects every single one of us and we all have a part to play to champion climate action ahead of COP26. Through the Energy Transition Council and the UK’s ambitious climate finance commitments, I hope to drive the transition to cleaner energies, and I urge all businesses, cities and regions to join the Race to Zero coalition.”

Patricia Espinosa said: “Those involved in the Race to Zero have made a commitment to achieve specific goals and will be held to those promises. The world cannot afford to be let down. Nor can this campaign become something that allows nations to defer action until a later date. It’s about needing more climate ambition and climate action now — in 2020.”

Michael Bloomberg said: “It’s possible to reduce air pollution, improve health, extend people’s lives, fight the climate crisis, and grow local economies. We don’t have to choose just one of those outcomes. They all really do go hand in hand.”

Net Zero Commitments Keep Growing

The number of local governments and businesses pursuing a net zero emissions target by the end of the century has grown significantly since late 2019, according to the Data-Driven EnviroLab and the NewClimate Institute, as many prioritize climate action as part of their recovery from the impacts of Covid-19. This includes:

  • A nine-fold increase for regions, with an additional 101 in 2020 from 11 recorded in 2019.
  • An eight-fold increase for cities, with 823 more in 2020 from 100 recorded in 2019.
  • A three-fold increase for companies, with 1,541 in 2020 from around 500 recorded in 2019.

Momentum among cities and regions spans most geographic areas, the report found. It is especially strong in East Asia and the Pacific, where participating cities and regions — including Tokyo, Wuhan, Hong Kong and eight Australian states — represent over 223 million people, or over 10 percent of the region’s total population. Nearly half of US states, from California and New York to Pennsylvania, Nevada and Louisiana, are also aiming for net zero in their overall emissions or in key sectors such as energy.

The report looks at all net zero commitments by cities, regions, businesses and investors around the world. Many of those are already part of the Race to Zero, which requires members to meet a minimum set of leadership criteria to maintain quality control.

Small Businesses Can Join the Race to Zero

Co-hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, the We Mean Business coalition and the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, the SME Climate Hub will serve as a one-stop shop that makes it easier for small and medium enterprises to join the Race to Zero. SMEs provide around two-thirds of jobs worldwide, making them integral to reaching net zero emissions by 2050. Many are being required by large corporations to make businesses more sustainable, but have lacked the support needed to transform.

The SME Climate Hub will therefore be crucial in helping to decarbonize the value chains of major corporations, services and consumer products too, by providing the tools, knowledge and best practices that smaller enterprises need to do their part.

Along with Covid-19, climate change is one of the most pressing threats to small business. Left unchecked, climate change could damage business infrastructure, cause business interruptions and closures and stunt economic growth. With 40 percent to 60 percent of small businesses never reopening after a disaster, SMEs must take climate action today in order to survive and thrive tomorrow.

Cities and corporations back healthy recovery

Of the businesses that have joined the Race to Zero, 294 companies have reached the highest standard of corporate climate ambition as part of the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. This includes companies in some of the most energy intensive sectors and those most impacted by Covid-19. Meanwhile, the number of certified B Corporations that have pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2030 — 20 years before the Paris Agreement’s goal — has climbed to 762. Another five new companies now aim to meet the Paris Agreement by 2040, by signing The Climate Pledge, led by Amazon.

Suphachai Chearavanont, Chief Executive of C.P. Group, said: “As a leading Asian conglomerate with our core business in agri-food, C.P. Group has a role to play to reduce the agriculture sector’s carbon footprint and encourage consumers to adopt more sustainable food choices. With our commitment for net zero emissions by 2050, we aim to meet this opportunity by leveraging innovation and working closely with all our partners and stakeholders across our diverse set of businesses in the group around the world.”

Jan Jenisch, Chief Executive of LafargeHolcim, said: “As the global leader in our industry, LafargeHolcim has a key role to play to address today’s climate crisis. That’s why we are proud to announce our net zero pledge with science-based targets to accelerate green construction and the transition to a net zero world.”

Notable new business arrivals to the Race to Zero include:

  • Artistic Milliners
  • Arauco
  • Ardagh Group
  • Biogen
  • Boston Consulting Group
  • Brambles
  • C.P. Group
  • Do Nation
  • Facebook
  • Ford
  • General Mills
  • The Guardian
  • Indra
  • LafargeHolcim
  • Lightsource bp
  • Mastercard
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Myers-Briggs Company
  • PVH
  • Paypal
  • Sweco

Companies Endorse EU Climate Ambition

The European Union is helping forge the race to zero emissions, with strong private sector leadership backing stronger climate goals. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s announcement last week, proposing that the EU raise its emissions reduction goal for 2030 to at least 55 percent, came on the heels of a call by more than 160 businesses and investors. In the open letter, CEOs said they were determined to work with the EU for an ambitious implementation of the recovery package focused on achieving a green and digital transition.

Brad Smith, President of Microsoft Corporation, said: “Carbon doesn’t respect borders. The only way for us to meet these carbon reduction targets is for governments to boldly step forward and work together towards a zero carbon future.”

About Race to Zero

Race to Zero is the international campaign for a healthy, resilient zero carbon recovery. Led by the UNFCCC Champions for Climate Action, it aims to bring together net zero commitments from cities, businesses and investors across the climate action community in the run up to COP26. Race to Zero collaborates with the following international networks and initiatives, which have independently been mobilizing net zero commitments. All of them have require their participants to meet the Race to Zero’s minimum criteria:

See Race to Zero website here.

Local environmental authorities call for a Green New Deal for the Americas

On Monday, August 17, the 2nd Forum of Local Environmental Authorities of the Americas was held, which seeks to strengthen the role of environmental authorities designated by their respective heads of government and to debate “A new green deal in capitals after the coronavirus.”

The Mayor of Santiago, Felipe Alessandri, vice-president for South America of CC35 (Coalition of Capitals of the Americas against Climate Change) and President of the Mayors for Climate initiative, led this virtual meeting, which also saw Santiago granted the first ever Green Capital of the Americas Award, for its efforts developing the most emissions-free transportation of any major city on the continent.

The event began with a bilateral meeting between Mayor Alessandri and the Mayor of Glasgow, Susan Aitken, who will host the COP26 in November of 2021. In this sense, the event aimed to contribute to the Santiago to Glasgow roadmap, towards a Multi-Level Action COP26, created by the members of the global constituency of Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and presented at COP25 by LGMA with the support of the Chilean COP25 Presidency. This roadmap will mark the way for the rest of the sub-national governments of the world with a focus on six priority issues:

  1. Raising the ambition towards carbon neutrality by 2050;
  2. Strengthening climate financing for cities;
  3. Linking climate with nature and the circular economy;
  4. Promoting the vertical integration of NDCs;
  5. Achieving a balanced approach between adaptation and mitigation; and
  6. Amplifying global action on climate

During the Forum, it was recalled that cities and local governments are one of the 9 priority foci established by the Chilean COP25 Presidency and, therefore, coordination and promotion efforts are being made towards the unification of the agendas of local government networks and representatives.

The “Climate Action Agenda for Local Governments of Latin America and the Caribbean 2020 and beyond” was developed with the support of the Chilean Presidency COP25, by members of the Regional Committee of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, including the participation of UCLG/FLACMA, ICLEI, C40, Mercociudades, and strategic partners such as CC35. This Agenda establishes 5 priority areas of action for local governments in the region, reflecting those established in the global LGMA framework:

  1. Commitments and local ambition;
  2. Vertical integration of NDCs and climate policy;
  3. New climate financing mechanisms for local governments;
  4. Local planning for carbon neutrality and resilience/adaptation;
  5. Integration of local strategies with those related to just transition, green/circular economy and climate empowerment.

Today, in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the role of local governments in coordinating crisis response efforts has been highlighted throughout the world; and their role will continue to be essential in activating a green recovery based on principles of circular economy, just transition, carbon neutrality, and a resilient transformation in the face of climate change.

The health crisis marks a turning point, and as has been highlighted by the COP25 President Carolina Schmidt, “climate change is not in quarantine.” Efforts must be redoubled to ensure that communities, territories and economies are strengthened and prepared to face the tremendous challenges of climate change that affect the world today.

The COP25 Presidency will continue to work hand in hand with our counterparts in the COP26 Presidency and the High-Level Champions, LGMA constituency and all networks and local governments, to strengthen the sub-national agenda of multi-level action throughout the Chilean Presidency.

 

COP25 President meets with indigenous representatives to consolidate their contribution to global climate action

Minister of the Environment and COP25 President, Carolina Schmidt, together with the United Kingdom’s Regional Ambassador for Latin America of COP26, Fiona Clouder, met virtually with indigenous representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean to learn about their experiences in dealing with climate change.

COP25 Presidency, within the framework of the commemoration of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples, invited indigenous organizations on climate change to a space for analysis and presentation of their visions regarding Climate Change and Nature-based Solutions, with the purpose of strengthening the linkage of the world’s indigenous communities with the States in the challenges that have been established in the area of climate change since the Paris Agreement and in the Platform of Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples (LCIPP, for its acronym in English) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The webinar on Indigenous Peoples and climate change, referred to “The contribution and link between Indigenous Cosmovision and NBS” was an instance to also analyze the current situation of indigenous communities and climate change, within the framework of the new context of Covid-19.

“COP25 Presidency, with the strong conviction to enhance the contribution of indigenous peoples in climate action, has supported global indigenous participation, and especially Latin American participation in international instances, opening spaces for dialogue and the promotion of their knowledge ancestral. In this context, this webinar presented the main recommendations that indigenous brothers and sisters have for the process of building climate change policies in each country and we learned about the visions on climate change and solutions based on nature from the perspective of the indigenous worldview,” said the Minister of the Environment and COP25 President, Carolina Schmidt.

“Now more than ever is the time to work together – exchanging ideas and best practices, building international understanding and joint approaches – to confront both the pandemic and the other crisis that threatens us as humanity: climate change,” said Fiona Clouder, diplomat and COP26 UK regional ambassador for Latin America.

“We need to get up, clean our waters, take care of our climate. For us the Earth is sick and we need to recover it,” was the call of Kiriath Campillay of the Diaguita people (Chile), spiritual guide of his people and representative of the Indigenous Caucus of Chile on Climate Change.

For his part, Estebancio Castro from the Kuna People (Panama), consultant on the rights of indigenous people and Climate Change, and member of the facilitative working group of the Platform of Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples (LCIPP) of the UNFCCC, explained that “for many, when we talk about the Worldview, we talk about our spirituality and our resources. The importance of indigenous peoples with that unique relationship they have with their territory, their lands and their resources cannot be separated to develop or contribute to the climate crisis. It is necessary to see how we support with mitigation”.

For Johnson Cerda of the Kichwa People of Limoncocha (Ecuador), Director DGM / GEA, Conservation International / International Forum of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change (IIPFCC), it is important to ensure land titling, full and effective participation, and their participation in climate change negotiations. “The experiences that indigenous peoples have are key to the effort that we all want to make to face climate change,” he said.

Hortencia Hidalgo, from the Aymara people (Chile), Network of Indigenous Women on Biodiversity of Latin America and the Caribbean (RMIB-LAC)/International Forum of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change (IIPFCC), reinforced that “indigenous peoples have fundamental knowledge for any activity to face the effects of climate change. We can be a contribution to society”.

The representative of the Mapuche Williche people (Chile), Juan Arriagada, and spokesperson for the Chilean Indigenous Caucus on Climate Change assured that “indigenous peoples continue to believe in a genuine dialogue where our rights, territory and spirituality are respected.”

The objective of this webinar is that the opinions and experiences shared serve to reveal the learning and wisdom of indigenous peoples in the design of the policies of the States Parties to the UNFCCC as well as to strengthen the relationship between the different actors in the process of the UNFCCC and indigenous communities.

Members of the Chilean Indigenous Caucus explored the different challenges and visions to address Climate Change integrating their Cosmovision and knowledge

Minister for Environment and COP25 President, Carolina Schmidt, alongside the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Chile, Silvia Rucks, and the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Development, Sebastián Villarreal, met virtually with members of Chile’s Indigenous Peoples Caucus on Climate Change.
During the event, the authorities pledged their support in formalizing the Indigenous Caucus of Chile on Climate Change, and reinforcing work between their people, the Government and the United Nations to advance and achieve concrete measures that incorporate the worldview in climate change policies.

In commemoration of the “International Indigenous Peoples Day”, on Sunday 9th August Minister for Environment and COP25 President, Carolina Schmidt, along with the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Chile, Silvia Rucks, and Sebastián Villarreal, of the Ministry of Social Development and Family, met virtually with members of Chile’s Indigenous Peoples Caucus on Climate Change in order to exchange insights and challenges on addressing Climate Change from the perspective of Indigenous Peoples, based on experiences of participation in COP25.

In the context of its Presidency of COP25, since 2019 Chile’s Ministry for Environment – with its strong commitment to enhancing the contribution of indigenous peoples to climate action – has supported global indigenous participation, particularly from Latin America, in international initiatives, establishing spaces for dialogue and promoting the unique knowledge of these groups.

“Due to their close relationship with the environment, indigenous peoples are in a unique position to address, through their ancestral knowledge, the challenges of climate change. As the Presidency of COP25, we seek to strengthen the knowledge, technologies, practices and efforts of local communities and indigenous peoples related to the response to climate change”, says Minister Carolina Schmidt.

It is in this context that, in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Development and Family, and with the support and accompaniment of the United Nations System in Chile, the decision was taken to establish a ‘Chilean Indigenous Caucus for COP25’ as part of preparation for last year’s summit, convening a range of indigenous leaders and experts from the country.

The creation of this space for dialogue has been critical, offering a first step to incorporating the indigenous worldview on climate change: the knowledge and wisdom of Indigenous Peoples about nature is an invaluable contribution to climate action in Chile and globally.

“We thank the members of the Chilean Indigenous Caucus for their commitment to creating global strategies for mitigation and adaptation in the area of climate change. Their willingness to give continuity to this dialogue, by sharing the wisdom, ancestral practices and worldview of indigenous peoples is a tremendous contribution to understanding an issue that concerns and affects all of humanity”, says the Undersecretary for Social Development of the Ministry for Social Development and Family, Sebastián Villarreal.

For her part, the Coordinator of the United Nations in Chile, Silvia Rucks, expressed her strong appreciation to members of the Chilean Indigenous for their interest in continuing to work at nationally and internationally on responding to climate change. She stressed that “we have a lot to learn from indigenous peoples, who are the ones who have been at the forefront of the demand for environmental and climate measures throughout the planet.”

The representative of UN Chile, also greeted the Indigenous Peoples represented at the meeting, on the occasion of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples commemorated every August 9, reiterating “the decision of the United Nations to make the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to shore up the resilience of these peoples ”.

Following the launch of the call for applications to join the Chilean Indigenous Caucus, 69 applications we received, of which 25 successful candidates were selected in accordance with criteria that sought to prioritize the following attributes:

  1. a) Individuals belonging to the Indigenous Peoples of Chile, with academic training and/or verifiable knowledge on environmental issues;
  2. b) Individuals belonging to the Indigenous Peoples of Chile who, individually or as part of a community, association or organization, undertake specific initiatives focused on environmental issues, especially related to climate change; and
  3. c) Indigenous leaders and/or representatives who have held a leadership role in processes or initiatives focused on environmental issues and especially climate change.

A central objective in the formation of the Caucus was to strengthen the participation of Chile’s Indigenous People in discussion of global strategies to address climate change. In addition, the Caucus seeks to promote the exchange of experiences by members and facilitate participation in national and international climate change initiatives; to promote the development of public policy in a way that respects and promotes Indigenous People’s interests; and to facilitate the implementation of ambitious climate action that contribute to a global efforts to tackle climate change.

Following seven working sessions held from 18th-21st November 2019 and the suspension of preparatory activities as a result of COP25 not being held in Santiago, the organizing team arranged for the participation of the Caucus in COP25 sessions held in Madrid, Spain, last December.

“Participating in COP25 in Madrid, Spain, allowed me to have a broader view by learning from the experience of my other brothers from indigenous peoples around the world on adaptation, mitigation, sustainable development and successful practices. We listen to the story of other brothers and sisters who have the same problems and feel the same urgency as us,” says Rayén Cariman, a Mapuche Woman from Lof Karumanke. “It is possible that together we can contribute to mitigate and help heal our Ñuke Mapu (Mother Earth). For us Mapuches, in our worldview, what hurts us the most is that our Mother is ill. She is not a stranger, Mother Earth, she is our mother, and we are going to do whatever is necessary for her to heal”, she adds.

Freddy Sebastián Medina, Member of the Indigenous Caucus of Chile on Climate Change, comments: “The creation of the Indigenous Caucus of Chile is a first step to establishing a permanent dialogue between indigenous communities and the public administration on the climate and environmental emergency that we are suffering in Chile. Based on my experience at COP25, I believe that it is increasingly urgent that indigenous peoples co-lead climate action – not only within their communities – but also in the Regional Committees on Climate Change (CORECC), especially now that Chile will hold the COP25 Presidency for two years, something which is unprecedented in the history of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). I also believe that it is an opportunity to drive progress in mitigating measures and to recover water resources, especially in indigenous territories”.

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Presidency of COP25 conducts dialogue with UNFCCC observers on ambition in the NDCs

The COP25 Presidency met virtually this morning with the 9 UNFCCC Constituencies and NGOs to hear their views on how civil society can contribute to improving ambition in the NDCs of Parties.

To date, 11 countries have submitted their updated or improved NDCs, and an additional 150 nations are expected to join.

On the occasion, The UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, started this meeting and made a strong call for participation.

“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that we address the most pressing challenge for us and future generations: climate change. The urgency of recovering from the current pandemic cannot be an excuse to adopt policies that would lock societies in a high emissions trajectory. In this regard, the work of civil society is key: from providing technical solutions to advocating for the right policies and voices of the vulnerable, and for that, spaces need to be created for them to contribute all their expertise”.

COP25 President and Minister of the Environment of Chile, Carolina Schmidt, chaired this meeting, making a strong call to make the relationship between the Parties and civil society more fluid, both in demanding urgent action and ambition by governments and also in offering solutions.

“The Chilean Presidency has strongly favoured the interaction with Non State Actors, and will continue to do so, by highlighting the importance of their contribution in the debates; the expert view of many in technical issues, the relevance of traditional and indigenous knowledge in climate solutions, and the centrality of science and the inputs from the science community to monitor and understand climate processes and projections”, said Schmidt.

Representatives of Business and industry non-governmental organizations (BINGO), Environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGO), Farmers, Indigenous peoples organizations (IPO), Local government and municipal authorities (LGMA), Research and independent non-governmental organizations (RINGO), Trade Unions non-governmental organizations (TUNGO), Women and Gender, Youth non-governmental organizations (YOUNGO).

Cities, regions and businesses ramp up ambition on climate change to deliver healthier economies in the wake of the pandemic

  • World Environment Day sees the launch of “Race to Zero” that will run up to COP26 — an international campaign for a healthy, resilient zero carbon recovery. Led by the UNFCCC Champions for Climate Action, it brings together an unprecedented coalition of net zero emissions initiatives, covering 992 businesses, 449 cities, 21 regions, 505 universities and 38 of the biggest investors.
  • These ‘real economy’ actors join 120 countries in the Climate Ambition Alliance, creating the largest ever alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.
  • Collectively, these real economy actors now cover just over half GDP, a quarter of global CO2 emissions and over 2.6 billion people, according to new data by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit published today, representing a 66% increase in commitments since COP25.
  • At a virtual launch event today, UK COP26 President Alok Sharma and Chile COP25 President Carolina Schmidt will call for a healthy, resilient, and inclusive recovery. UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, Mark Carney, will discuss work in the private finance agenda to help investors identify the opportunities in the transition to net zero and report the alignment of their own portfolios with net zero.
  • Listed companies setting net zero targets have combined annual revenues of $4.72 trillion. These include Adobe, Cap Gemini SE, Diageo, Inditex, Kuehne + Nagel AG, LONGi Green Energy Technology Co, and Rolls-Royce.
  • The Climate Pledge co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism, which is committed to mobilizing corporate leadership to achieve net zero carbon by 2040, joins Race to Zero today.
  • In response to the growing volley of net zero commitments and ambitions, Oxford University publishes minimum criteria for initiatives and networks that join Race to Zero. This requires all participants to not only pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050, but also to submit a plan in advance of COP26 and set interim targets in the next decade.

 

5 June – To mark World Environment Day, a vast and unlikely alliance of investors, activists, cities and corporates will gather virtually for the launch of Race to Zero, the global campaign to mobilise leadership and support for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery which creates well-paying jobs, unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth and prevents future threats.

The campaign – under the stewardship of Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Muñoz, the UN High Level Climate Champions for the UK and Chile – will rally ‘real economy’ leaders to join the largest ever coalition of businesses, investors, cities and regions  committed to the same overarching goal: achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the very latest, in line with the scientific consensus on limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Already covering 23% CO2 emissions and 53% of GDP and sounding the drumbeat to COP26, the campaign aims to drive a new growth and innovation agenda in support of a healthier, more inclusive and resilient economy. To maintain quality control, Oxford University has set out minimum criteria for robust Race to Zero targets, published today.

Prioritising climate change in the economic recovery has the support of over two-thirds of people worldwide. Moreover, low carbon stimulus can spur economic recovery and job creation as effectively as—or better than—environmentally neutral or harmful programs, as new research by McKinsey shows. The magnitude of stimulus packages, in the region of £10-20 trillion, will shape the economy for the next decade.

The campaign is also working to define the most effective pathways to zero emission for key sectors such as energy, transport, industry, food, retail and finance – in a bid to mass mobilize the number of companies and cities committed to net zero by at least 2050 and reach key economic tipping points faster. The new pathways will drive coordinated action by investors, businesses, policymakers, and NGOs.

Big ambitions for COP26 in 2021
Days after the new date for COP26 was confirmed for 1-12 November 2021, Alok Sharma, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and COP26 President, said: “The way we rebuild our economies post Covid-19 will have a profound impact on our planet. We have the opportunity to build back better by investing in a clean, resilient recovery.

“The Race to Zero initiative will play an important part in encouraging businesses, other organisations and regional governments to increase their ambition and take action against climate change.”

COP25 President Carolina Schmidt said: “In September 2019 we launched the Climate Ambition Alliance to commit states and non-state actors to carbon neutrality by 2050 as science asks us, in order to achieve the goal of 1.5°C. Today we applaud the Race To Zero campaign, which was born from this Alliance, and which invites non-state actors to continue joining to take on this enormous challenge we have as humanity. Despite the health crisis, climate action must continue at all levels.”

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa added: “Race to Zero must help spur strong enhanced national climate action plans—or NDCs—due this year. Race to Zero is not a campaign of the future, but a campaign of today. That’s why all members are demonstrating how they’re already in the race to zero, by publishing immediate plans by COP26 and setting interim targets in 2025 and 2030.”

Climate central to a healthier recovery
With health concerns at an all time high, cities including Freetown, Bogota, and Phoenix today announce new commitments to tackle air pollution and become zero carbon by 2050. In Japan alone, local governments setting net zero targets cover 64 million people — over half Japan’s population.

Dr Maria Neira, Director of Environment, Climate Change and Health at the World Health Organization, will call on governments to put health and climate action at the centre of recovery plans. “Like never before, the world has gathered around one goal: the race to zero deaths from COVID-19. A healthy recovery from this pandemic means we need to continue and expand this race to zero deaths from climate change and environmental pollution, a race to zero people pushed into poverty because of health costs, to zero people breathing polluted air. If we want to recover from COVID-19, we all need to embark on a Race to Zero emissions.”

Net zero lens for investment and finance
Reorienting investment and finance for net zero will be a major focus for the UK COP Presidency and the Race to Zero. As UN Special Envoy for Climate & Finance and advisor to the UK Government on COP26, Mark Carney said: “The transition to net zero is creating the greatest commercial opportunity of our time.  Net zero targets must be underpinned by transition plans so that investors can assess which companies will seize the opportunities in the transition and which will cease to exist. The priority of the COP 26 Private Finance work is to support investors in: assessing the credibility of company transition plans; measuring how their own portfolios are aligned to net zero; and disclosing the alignment of investment portfolios.”

Businesses stepping-up ambition on zero carbon commitments
Of the nearly 1,000 businesses that have joined the Race to Zero, there are 237 companies that are already reaching the highest standard of corporate climate ambition as part of the growing Business Ambition for 1.5C campaign by targeting net zero emissions by 2050 to align their business with a 1.5°C limit. This includes companies in some of the hardest to abate sectors and those most impacted by COVID-19, such as aviation, shipping, rail and power generation leader Rolls-Royce, retailer Inditex and food & drink company Diageo.

New signatories today include:

  • Adobe
  • Ajinomoto Co
  • Brunswick Group
  • Cap Gemini SE
  • Diageo
  • H&M
  • Husqvarna AB
  • Inditex
  • Kuehne + Nagel AG
  • JLL
  • Legrand
  • Magyar Telekom
  • Rolls-Royce
  • LONGi Green Energy Technology Co

The CEOs of two companies – Mark Schneider of Nestlé and Warren East of Rolls-Royce – will join today’s launch event to discuss why they are placing net zero at the heart of their innovation and new growth agenda. Together they are harnessing solutions both to decarbonize their power and conserve nature to deliver a healthier, more resilient and zero carbon economy.

Warren East, chief executive officer, Rolls-Royce said: “The world on the other side of this pandemic will need the power that we generate to fuel economic recovery. I absolutely believe the call for that power to be more sustainable and net zero will be stronger than ever. Few companies on the planet are better placed than Rolls-Royce to help. We will use our capabilities to play a leading role in enabling the vital sectors in which we operate to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. I absolutely believe this ambition will drive our competitiveness for the future.”

Mark Schneider, chief executive, Nestlé added:””We know the challenge of climate change will not wait, so neither will we. Time is of the essence and we need quick wins in the short term, to build a better future as we recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Nestlé is committed to this cause. We will work with others and use our scale and expertise as well as the power of our brands to drive progress – fast.Building a more sustainable food system will be a core element of the solution to climate change and we intend to play our part in making this happen”

To help companies achieve net zero, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)  is today launching 1.5C SOS — a framework to guide all companies through the key steps to decarbonise in line with the 1.5°C goal. This follows  155 corporations from 33 countries, with a combined market capitalisation of more than $2.4 trillion and 5 million employees, that urged governments to make sure their COVID-19 recovery aid is designed to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Universities stepping up to join campaign
Global Universities and Colleges for the Climate has joined the Race to Zero campaign. Since 2019, has rallied 500 higher education institutions and networks, representing more than 17,000 colleges and universities and 4.6 million students committed to be net zero by 2050 at the latest.

Millions of SMEs to be given the tools to achieve net zero emissions
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, with the support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), have announced a new partnership to develop a global platform – SME Exponential Race to Zero – providing ICC’s network of 45 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with concrete climate action tools and the financial resources necessary to set and achieve climate targets aligned with the ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and thrive in a post-COVID-19 world.

 

About Race to Zero
Race to Zero is the international campaign for a healthy, resilient zero carbon recovery. Led by the UNFCCC Champions for Climate Action, it aims to bring together net zero commitments from cities, businesses and investors across the climate action community in the run up to COP26. Race to Zero collaborates with the following international networks and initiatives, which have independently been mobilizing net zero commitments. All of them have require their participants to meet the Race to Zero’s minimum criteria:

Full list of companies committing to set targets in line with reaching net zero emissions by 2050, as part of the Science Based Targets initiative and its Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign today – taking the total to 237 companies:

  • Adobe
  • Ajinomoto Co
  • Brunswick Group
  • Cap Gemini SE
  • Diageo
  • H&M
  • Husqvarna AB
  • Inditex
  • Kuehne + Nagel AG
  • JLL
  • Legrand
  • Magyar Telekom
  • Rolls-Royce
  • LONGi Green Energy Technology Co

Since the start of 2020 and throughout the pandemic, there has been marked increase in major companies setting groundbreaking, 1.5C aligned climate commitments, including:

  • Askul Corp
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • EDF Group
  • Kesco Corp
  • Klöckner & Co
  • Microsoft
  • Moody’s
  • News Corp
  • Nomura Research Institute
  • PepsiCo
  • Refinitiv
  • Sky Group
  • Symrise

 

SPECIAL EVENT: Race to Zero launch

World Environment Day sees the official launch of Race to Zero, the global COP26 campaign to mobilize leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a Healthy, Resilient, Zero Carbon recovery, which creates jobs, unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth and reduces the risk of future shocks.

More details: https://unfccc.int/event/climate-leadership-after-covid-framing-the-new-growth-agenda-for-economies-cities-businesses-and

Join live: No registration required http://ow.ly/tfnL50zWVOJ

The campaign – under the stewardship of the UN High Level Climate Champions for the UK and Chile – will rally ‘real economy’ leaders to join the largest ever coalition of leaders – from countries, businesses, cities, regions, investors, and civil society – all committed to the same overarching goal: achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the very latest.

Already covering about a third of GDP and sounding the drumbeat to COP26, the campaign aims to reframe the innovation and growth agenda in support of a healthier, more inclusive and resilient economy – and what that will take.

Alongside the UK COP26 Presidency, the Chile COP25 Presidency, and UN Climate Change, the UN High-Level Climate Champions for UK & Chile – Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Munoz will give a platform to private sector leaders to make a range of announcements.

At this launch event we will discuss:

  • Ambitions and latest plans for COP26
  • COVID-19 & climate – the public health case for a resilient, inclusive, zero carbon economy
  • The Race to Zero campaign: major new announcements, data, and plans to drive sector-level transformation
  • Zero carbon as the new growth & leadership agenda – cities, finance & real economy pioneers

EVENT DATE AND TIME:

5 June, 12.00-13.30 BST | 07.00-08.30 ET

Nigel Topping (HL Climate Champion for UK) and Gonzalo Munoz (HL Climate Champion for Chile) will convene the event with the following participants (TBC):

  • Minister Alok Sharma, COP26 President
  • Minister Carolina Schmidt, COP25 President
  • Minister Sergio Costa (Italian Minister for the Environment, Land and Sea Protection)
  • Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary
  • Mark Carney, Finance Adviser for COP26
  • Dr. Maria Neira, Director of Public Health, WHO
  • Warren East, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce
  • Mark Schneider, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé

Chile calls on countries to present more ambitious NDCs and long-term climate strategies

For two days, the Petersberg Climate Dialogue was held virtually with Germany and the United Kingdom as hosts.

The meeting brought together more than 30 ministers who reflected on how the world can recover once the COVID-19 pandemic has been overcome in a climate-resilient way.

The 11th meeting was chaired by the German Minister for the Environment, Svenja Schulze, and by the designated COP26 President, Alok Sharma.

The first intervention was from the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who reinforced the importance of multilateralism at this time when the world is facing COVID-19: “The Coronavirus painfully shows us that international cooperation is crucial. (…) It is clear that the more we work together, the more we will avoid human suffering and economic distortions, or at least we will be able to contain them,” he said.

For his part, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres said: “They say it is darker just before dawn. These are dark days, but they are not days without hope. We have a short and rare opportunity to change our world for the better.”

The Minister of Environment of Chile and President of COP25, Carolina Schmidt, was the first Secretary of State to intervene.

“The calls from the international climate community have been clear in recent weeks: despite the health crisis, climate action must continue at all levels,” he said.

At the beginning of April, Chile presented the update of its NDC. In this regard, Schmidt called on countries to present more ambitious NDCs and long-term climate strategies this year 2020, under the Paris Agreement.

“These commitments should not be seen as an unnecessary distraction from the health crisis. In fact, they may be part of the solution: NDCs and long-term strategies may be the blueprint for designing recovery strategies that are aligned with high emission reductions,” she said.

Minister Carolina Schmidt explained that the NDC in Chile is committed “to an absolute carbon budget for the period 2020-2030 and a series of other measures, specially spanning adaptation and integration: covering commitments in oceans, forests, circular economy, and nature-based solutions. What I specially want to highlight is the inclusion of a social pillar for the first time in a NDC. This pillar serves as anchor for all our climate commitments, connecting them to the 2030 SDG – and committing the development of a “Just Transition Strategy” focusing in the protection of the most vulnerable people and their territories.

Our new enhanced NDC not only promotes a more ambitious climate action but also it fosters a socioeconomic and a more inclusive development. which is especially crucial as we recover from Covid-19 and its economic impacts.”

Before concluding the high-level session of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, the designated president of COP26 assured that “the climate crisis has not taken time off and we still have time to define the future, although the window is closing. We need an ambitious roadmap for COP26,” and he recalled that the axes of his Presidency are transition to clean energy, clean transport, nature-based solutions, adaptation and resilience, and finance.

Chile calls on countries to present more ambitious NDCs and long-term climate strategies

For two days, the Petersberg Climate Dialogue was held virtually with Germany and the United Kingdom as hosts.

The meeting brought together more than 30 ministers who reflected on how the world can recover once the COVID-19 pandemic has been overcome in a climate-resilient way.

The 11th meeting was chaired by the German Minister for the Environment, Svenja Schulze, and by the designated COP26 President, Alok Sharma.

The first intervention was from the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who reinforced the importance of multilateralism at this time when the world is facing COVID-19: “The Coronavirus painfully shows us that international cooperation is crucial. (…) It is clear that the more we work together, the more we will avoid human suffering and economic distortions, or at least we will be able to contain them,” he said.

For his part, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres said: “They say it is darker just before dawn. These are dark days, but they are not days without hope. We have a short and rare opportunity to change our world for the better.”

The Minister of Environment of Chile and President of COP25, Carolina Schmidt, was the first Secretary of State to intervene.

“The calls from the international climate community have been clear in recent weeks: despite the health crisis, climate action must continue at all levels,” he said.

At the beginning of April, Chile presented the update of its NDC. In this regard, Schmidt called on countries to present more ambitious NDCs and long-term climate strategies this year 2020, under the Paris Agreement.

“These commitments should not be seen as an unnecessary distraction from the health crisis. In fact, they may be part of the solution: NDCs and long-term strategies may be the blueprint for designing recovery strategies that are aligned with high emission reductions,” she said.

Minister Carolina Schmidt explained that the NDC in Chile is committed “to an absolute carbon budget for the period 2020-2030 and a series of other measures, specially spanning adaptation and integration: covering commitments in oceans, forests, circular economy, and nature-based solutions. What I specially want to highlight is the inclusion of a social pillar for the first time in a NDC. This pillar serves as anchor for all our climate commitments, connecting them to the 2030 SDG – and committing the development of a “Just Transition Strategy” focusing in the protection of the most vulnerable people and their territories.

Our new enhanced NDC not only promotes a more ambitious climate action but also it fosters a socioeconomic and a more inclusive development. which is especially crucial as we recover from Covid-19 and its economic impacts.”

Before concluding the high-level session of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, the designated president of COP26 assured that “the climate crisis has not taken time off and we still have time to define the future, although the window is closing. We need an ambitious roadmap for COP26,” and he recalled that the axes of his Presidency are transition to clean energy, clean transport, nature-based solutions, adaptation and resilience, and finance.