172 businesses, regions and cities now have major decarbonisation targets
One hundred and seventy two major companies, cities and regions have now committed to 100% renewable energy or reducing emissions by 80-100%, new data has revealed.
The figure comes from a report released on Monday (28 September) by CDP and The Climate Group, designed to inspire similar pledges ahead of the Paris climate talks.
The 172 commitments made so far were inspired by three main factors - values, efficiency and competitiveness - the report says.
“All this means that leaders don’t have to choose between being socially responsible and being profitable. In fact, they’re finding that, in this case, the two go hand in hand,” reads the report introduction. “For example, the City of Adelaide in South Australia is working to become the 'world’s first carbon neutral city', while at the same time benefiting from the growth of energy efficiency and renewable energy businesses.”
UK firms Marks & Spencers and BT were featured in the business section, alongside global giants Nike, Microsoft and Mars. Google, which has both a decarbinsation target and a 100% renewable energy target, was highlighted in the report for its $1.8bn investment in green energy projects, including wind and solar farms on three continents.
Wrioting in the report, Google executive chariman Eric Schmidt said: “We’re serious about environmental sustainability not because its trendy but because its core to our values and also makes good business sense.
“After all, the cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use in the first place. And in many places clean power is cost-competitive with conventional power.”
The report comes of the back of several companies making 100% renewable energy commitments last week, by signing up to the RE100 initiative.
Figure 1: Companies with a commitment to cut GHG emissions by 80-100% (Bold indicates target achieved)
Figure 2: Companies with 100% renewables targets
Scotland was listed as one of only seven regions with a 100% renewable target, while 17 other regions had 80% or better decarbonisations targets, including five US states.
California was highlighted as an example of the benefits of embracing green energy; with its advanced energy sector now employing 430,000 people – more than Motion Pictures, according to the report. Just last week, a group of state and regional authorities pledged to cut their emissions by an amount greater than the US’ total emissions.
Figure 3: Regions with a commitment to cut GHG emissions by 80-100%
Figure 4: Regions with 100% renewable targets
However, no UK destinations are featured in the report's third category of cities, with those in the US, Canada, Sweden, Japan and Norway dominating.
Figure 5: Cities with a commitment to cut GHG emissions by 80-100%
Kasim Reed, mayor of US city Atlanta, wrote in the report: “A key part of the solution to climate change is bold action at the local level.
“Atlanta is taking the lead as a world class, sustainable city by setting ambitious, but achievable, GHG reduction goals of 20% by 2020, retrofitting city facilities for energy and water efficiency and adding EV cars to our fleet.”
Another recent report has claimed that climate smart cities - with expanded public transit, energy-saving buildings, and better waste management - could save as much as $22tn and avoid the equivalent in carbon pollution of India's entire annual output of greenhouse gasses.