Surge of new climate action commitments
Positive global commitments were the outcome of the Global Climate Action Summit that concluded earlier this month in San Francisco, showcasing a surge of climate action and commitments from regions, cities, businesses, investors and civil society; and calling on governments everywhere to step up their efforts to tackle climate change.
Leaders from all sectors of society gathered at the event to demonstrate how they are ‘taking ambition to the next level’ with a wave of fresh and brave climate action announcements that, if implemented will generate over 65 million new, low-carbon jobs by 2030.
Importantly, the outcomes of the Summit will provide encouragement to governments as they finalize the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement in Poland in December of this year. It will guide them in preparing their national climate action plans in 2020, and give them bold options and examples for change in designing their short and longterm climate strategies. Transformational action The meeting also underlined the transformational action they are already pursuing. Over 100 leaders, for example, are now committed to carbon neutrality—or removing as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they emit.
It finds that a stepped-up transition to a low-carbon economy can:
• result in $26 trillion in economic benefits worldwide through 2030,
• generate over 65 million new low-carbon jobs in 2030, equivalent to today’s entire workforces of the UK and Egypt combined,
• avoid over 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution in 2030,
• generate, through just subsidy reform and carbon pricing, an estimated $2.8 trillion in government revenues per year in 2030—equivalent to the total GDP of India today—funds that can be used to invest in other public priorities or reduce distorting taxes,
• by a shift to more sustainable forms of agriculture combined with strong forest protection, deliver potentially more than $2 trillion per year of economic benefits, generating millions of jobs, improving food security— including by reducing food loss and waste—and delivering over a third of the climate change solution, and
• by restoring natural capital, especially our forests, degraded lands and coastal zones, strengthen our defenses and boost adaptation to climate impacts, from more extreme weather patterns to sea-level rise.
HEALTHY ENERGY SYSTEMS
An alliance of more than 60 state/regional, city governments and multinational businesses are now committed to a 100% zero emission targets. 12 regions – including Catalonia, Lombardy, Scotland, and Washington State, representing over 80 million people and over 5 percent of global GDP will have 100 per cent zero emission public fleets by 2030.
26 cities with 140 million people are committed to buy only zero emission buses starting in 2025 and creating zero emission areas in their cities starting in 2030.
Business is stepping-forward with multinational companies committed to taking fleets zero emission. Almost 400 global companies along with health care providers, cities, states and regions now have 100% renewable energy targets.
Over 30 energy intensive industry and property players have set smart energy and net zero carbon buildings targets. Inclusive economic growth 488 companies from 38 countries have adopted emission reduction pathways in line with the science of the Paris Agreement—up nearly 40 per cent from last year. Nearly a fifth of Fortune Global 500 companies have now committed to set sciencebased emissions reduction targets.
At the Summit, 21 companies announced the Step Up Declaration, a new alliance dedicated to harnessing the power of emerging technologies and the fourth industrial revolution to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all economic sectors and ensure a climate turning point by 2020.
Many signed a new Pledge for a Just Transition to Decent Jobs. They pledged to only buy from renewable energy providers that uphold fundamental workers’ rights including social protections and wage guarantees. Sustainable communities Over 70 big cities, home to some 425 million citizens, are now committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, including Accra, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Mexico City. These actions alone will lead to a 2.5 percent cut of annual global greenhouse gas emissions and the avoidance of 12 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050. A further 9,100 cities representing 800 million citizens are now committed to city-wide climate action plans. This could lead to reductions of more than 60 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent between now and 2050. Land and ocean stewardship A powerful Leaders Group and a new alliance linking over 100 NGOs, businesses, state and local governments, indigenous groups and local communities was launched to fire up action across the forest, food and land agendas.
Over 100 global supply chain actors and investors–managing over US $5.6 trillion–pledged to work with a variety of organizations to halt deforestation and native vegetation loss in the Cerrado, Brazil.
Nine leading philanthropic foundations announced their intent to commit at least $459 million through 2022 to the protection, restoration and expansion of forests and lands worldwide— the announcement underlined indigenous peoples’ and traditional communities’ collective land rights and resource management. Transformative investments The Investor Agenda was formally launched bringing together nearly 400 investors managing US $32 trillion of assets. Investors with assets more than a third larger than the economy of the United States are now firmly focused on accelerating and scaling-up financial flows into climate action and building a more sustainable, low-carbon, global economy.
296 investors have now joined Climate Action 100+ which is working with some of the highest emitting companies to assist them in lowering emissions, getting on track with clean energy and the goals of the Paris Agreement.
42 financial institutions gathered under the mainstreaming Climate Action in Financial Institutions initiative, representing over $13 trillion in assets, announced a commitment to helping cities, states, and regions finance climate action.