Wednesday, May 12, 2021
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Cities, Regions and Businesses Race to Zero Emissions

To mark World Environment Day, a vast and unlikely alliance of investors, activists, cities and corporates is gathering 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.

  • 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 thelargest 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.

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.

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 both a campaign for the future and 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.”

Read original release here.

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