EIC GHG Stories – Climate news recap: Reinforcing the Global Green Commitment
You’re probably aware that in early October we initiated a monthly journey with a news recap series that summed up the state of things regarding climate-related headlines. As part of the European Innovation Council (EIC), we’re continuing this GHG joint initiative with a December round that brings you the latest and trendiest pieces of information on what’s being done about climate change and its imperatives.
Climate change impacts different sectors of society and having a good perspective on what’s happening in our world is always important. With the ongoing mission of inspiring entrepreneurial innovators to help transform how environmental matters are addressed, the EIC GHG programme is offering a monthly news recap initiative to give others an in-depth view on matters related to the climate. This time around, we’ve put together an immersive series recap of news articles that dwell on topics related to climate policy, climate science, and corporate climate.
With the ending of the COP26 UN Climate Conference came the consensus reached by over 190 countries to keep the Paris Agreement targets alive. Given the world’s ambitious 1.5°C global warming limit, parties involved agreed to accelerate efforts towards phasing-down coal power and fossil fuel subsidies. They also made sure their climate commitments will be revisited to put countries back on track for the 1.5°C of warming, maintaining the upper end of ambition under the Paris Agreement.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We’ve made progress on the three objectives we set at the start of COP26: [1st] to get commitments to cut emissions to keep within reach the global warming limit of 1.5 degrees. [2nd] to reach the target of 100 billion dollars per year of climate finance to developing and vulnerable countries. And [3rd], to get agreement on the Paris rulebook. [There] will be no time to relax there is still hard work ahead”.
Speaking of which, Greece is to introduce its first climate law that’s related to pledging to cut its reliance on coal within six years as part of reaching a carbon net-zero economy by 2050. The move comes after the country suffered devastating wildfires during 2021 when summer heat soared, and global warming was partly at fault for it.
Given Greece is one of the EU countries that relies most on coal-derived energy, and has made slow progress in cutting its emissions, this will entail an intermediate target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030. Kostas Skrekas (Greece’s Environment and Energy Minister) said: “The national climate law is of historic importance, in order to deal with the climate crisis and achieve climate neutrality by 2050”.
On that same note, by the middle of the century, 68% of earth’s inhabitants will live in urban areas. Given cities are already responsible for 60% of all greenhouse gas emissions, what can major urban areas do to contribute to the net-zero target by the middle of the century?
The response was provided by 25 mega-cities that have now pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050. From Rio de Janeiro and New York to London and Paris, if the world is keen on meeting its ambitious global temperature limit of 1.5 degrees, other cities will need to do the same.
The already pledged cities are targeting sensitive areas. To mention a few, reducing the emissions from transport, as well as other types of pollution from vehicles, by introducing Ultra-Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) is something London is doing. Paris is creating 650km of new cycleways to encourage people to discard cars altogether. While Rio de Janeiro is investing heavily in green infrastructures to lower the reliance on air conditioning, and its Museum of Tomorrow is now using nearby water from Guanabara Bay to decrease the indoor temperature.
Moving on to another related topic, the COP26 UN Climate Conference saw updated and new pledges from countries all around the world to tackle climate change. As additional goals to reduce deforestation and phase out fossil fuels were made, Frans Timmermans (EU Climate Chief) highlighted the progress made since the Paris Agreement of several countries coming forward with the will to reduce emissions and reach climate neutrality.
He stated: “We went into the COP on track for 2.7°C – way too much, but a lot less than the 3°C or 4°C we were headed for in Paris. And after COP for the very first time, we have a shot at staying below 2°C now”. However, there’s still a long way to go, and as he continued “[the climate crisis requires] constant effort and unrelenting pressure on all governments, especially the major emitters”.
To be in line with the green trend, Carrefour is sharpening its ambitions and is reducing its CO2 emissions to be climate neutral by 2040. In 2020, the French supermarket chain already set itself new climate targets to limit global warming to less than 2°C by 2100. Their plan included a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and a 55% reduction by 2040.
As a way of tightening up its climate ambitions yet again, the company wishes to reduce the CO2 emissions of its operations at source as much as possible by using 100% renewable energy by 2030 and reducing its emissions from the use of refrigerants by 80% by 2040 – for example.
Lastly, financial institutions are also doing their part and have signed up to a plan of reaching a state of net-zero by 2050. How will they do this? By using a science-based targets standard developed by the eponymous Science Based Target initiative (SBTi).
This complies financial institutions to use their ability and influence to finance effective climate transition activities in the real economy. The SBTi highlighted that: “Financial institutions have started to focus on net-zero as the guiding principle for their climate mitigation ambition”. Even though the SBTi is aware that the financial sector didn’t exactly “exercise direct control over any major sources of [greenhouse gas] emissions reductions”, it did have an “unique influence over other actors in that [it] provides capital and services to companies with responsibility for reducing their GHG emissions”.
Therefore, to be relevant, actionable, and robust, this process will encompass financial institutions, NGOs, government officials, along with other stakeholders. This will “generate actionable criteria, detailed guidance, and technical resources to support financial institutions with the formulation and implementation of science-based net-zero targets”, stated the SBTi.
As a way of actively harnessing critical information that goes in line with the ‘green global trend’ we’re facing to preserve modern society for future generations, these are just a few of the articles that made the headlines.
If after reading this you’re asking yourself how you can also contribute to the solution in line with your capabilities, here’s our answer. As an EIC-funded SME, you can join the initiatives of the EIC GHG programme, be it the co-creation activities, the webinars & resource library or by use of the EIC GHG Tool. Being a journey towards carbon neutrality, with a set of unique steps that you can benefit from, this programme will aid you in making your green contribution towards a cleaner and safer planet.
About the EIC GHG programme
With the EIC GHG programme, part of the Business Acceleration Services, the EIC offers its beneficiaries the support and expertise needed to assess, track and efficiently reduce their carbon footprint through the use of a dedicated GHG Tool, monthly webinars and further resources.
In addition, co-creation activities with corporates, industrial associations, regions in carbon transition and other EIC beneficiaries are planned. More information on the EIC GHG programme can be found here.
Did you hear about the latest EIC GHG Tool?
As a way of efficiently reducing carbon emissions and developing other sustainable practices to help our planet, this initiative is meant to offer EIC beneficiaries the opportunity to calculate, track & monitor CO2 emissions, plus simulate mitigation measures to make your business more sustainable.