By Laurie Stone
The past year has been marked by many memorable moments, from the rollout of vaccines to a new ghost hunters Bernie Sanders’ mittens movie went viral. But he’s also seen real progress on climate action. Here we list our top 15 climate developments for 2021, in no particular order.
- United States joins Paris climate agreement
The year started strong as on January 20, President Biden took action to bring the United States back into the Paris Agreement. On February 19, the country was once again a party to the unprecedented international treaty on climate change.
- Renewable energies had a record year
This year saw 290 gigawatts of new renewable power generation capacity around the world, breaking the 2020 record of 260 GW. China installed the most renewable energy in 2021 and is expected to reach 1,200 GW of wind and solar capacity in 2026, four years ahead of its 2030 target. And in India, renewable energy capacity has increased by 500 % over the past seven years. and now represents almost 40 percent of installed capacity.
- The private sector goes green
Non-state actors have stepped up and set themselves ambitious climate goals. Almost half of the largest publicly traded companies have pledged to cut emissions and the latest United Nations climate conference (COP26) saw more active participation from companies and financial institutions than any other climate summit. previous.
- Financial institutions go green
Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Bank of America have joined JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley in setting net zero goals. In addition to these six leading US banks, more than 450 companies with $ 120 trillion in assets have joined the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ). GFANZ brings together leading net zero initiatives from across the financial system to accelerate the transition to net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
- COP26 had a methane moment
Methane seemed to be the hot topic at COP26. More than 100 countries representing more than 70% of global GDP have pledged to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030. In addition to that, the US Environmental Protection Agency has offered to strengthen protections to reduce methane pollution from oil and gas infrastructure across the United States.
- Commitment to green hydrogen increases
The demand for green hydrogen is increasing in the steel industry, aviation, shipping and other sectors in need of reduction. Governments set targets, implement policies and provide funds for green hydrogen. And the Green Hydrogen Catapult has announced a joint commitment to develop 45 GW of electrolyzer capacity by 2027 and reduce costs to less than $ 2 per kilogram.
- China, US agree to coordinate on emissions reductions
The two main greenhouse gas emitting countries have agreed to work together to limit emissions. This deal was reached at COP26, and while there is no concrete action yet, it is good to know that China and the United States are discussing the matter.
- Financial institutions tackle hard-to-shrink sectors
High-emitting sectors such as steel and aviation are learning from the principles of Poseidon, a deal in which financial institutions joined forces to reduce emissions from shipping. There is now a steel and aluminum finance task force and soon aviation and aluminum task forces to create climate-aligned finance deals for these hard-to-scale sectors.
- Launch of a global alliance to develop renewable energy in low- and middle-income countries
The Rockefeller Foundation spearheaded partners in launching the Global Energy Alliance for People and the Planet to deliver clean and productive energy to 1 billion underserved people, create tens of millions of green jobs and ‘avoid and avoid more than 4 billion tonnes of emissions. With $ 10 billion reserved for investment, it is implementing a just energy transition in low- and middle-income countries.
- Electric vehicle market hits double digits
Global sales of electric vehicles hit an all-time high, reaching over ten percent of the market share. One in 10 newly registered passenger cars is rechargeable, bringing the number of electric vehicle sales in 2021 to nearly 6 million. Sales of e-bikes also continue to explode, and many cities have continued to expand street redesign in the pandemic era to prioritize biking and walking or the use of shared spaces.
- Trucks are ready to go electric
Electric vehicles are not limited to passenger cars. Light, medium and some heavy-duty trucks are also ready for electrification, as demonstrated by the Run on Less – Electric roadshow in which 13 electric trucks from companies such as DHL, Anheuser-Busch and Frito-Lay deliver products in all the countries. Ford also unveiled the all-electric version of America’s most popular pickup truck, the F150. There are already more than 200,000 reservations for the model which will be available in spring 2022.
- India adopts electric vehicles
In India, 2021 saw the roll-out of a Production Incentive Program (PLI) to boost the manufacturing of advanced automotive technology products, including electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, a program PLI for the manufacture of advanced chemical cell storage batteries and a website that functions as a one-stop destination for all information on electric vehicles. The e-AMRIT website includes information on charging station locations, electric vehicle financing options, government policies and available subsidies for electric vehicles.
- More US cities and states embrace electrification
Cities and states in the United States are adopting new policies and taking action to move away from the use of fossil fuels in homes and buildings and embrace an all-electric future. New York City; Eugene, OR; Ithaca, New York; and Denver, CO; are some of the latest cities to adopt policies supporting electrification. And California became the first state in the country to strongly encourage the construction of all-electric buildings.
- Cities lead action on clean energy
Local governments are increasingly engaging in state-level regulatory procedures to take broader action on clean energy. Cities are also getting more ambitious and creative with their renewable energy plans, like the 24/7 Clean Energy Commitment happening in Des Moines, Iowa, and South Lake Tahoe, California.
- United States funds green infrastructure and commits to carbon neutrality
President Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure agreement. The legislation provides billions of dollars for the charging of electric vehicles, electric school buses, public transportation and the reliability of the electricity grid. The policy represents some of the biggest U.S. investments in the fight against climate change to date. And this month, the Biden administration announced an executive order to decarbonize federal buildings, electrify the federal fleet, and more to make the federal government carbon neutral by 2050.
Â© 2021 Rocky Mountain Institute. Posted with permission. Originally posted on RMI Outlet.
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