Businesses, cities and investors join forces in UN-backed net zero emissions campaign

The United Nations is hoping to orchestrate a massive show of support for a greener economy with the official launch of Race to Zero, a campaign for companies to pledge to hit net zero emissions before 2050.. Madeleine Cuff explains the Race to Zero in an article on the inews website.

 

‘Race to Zero’ recruits private sector to lobby for more ambitious climate action in run-up to COP26 climate summit next year

The United Nations is hoping to orchestrate a massive show of support for a greener economy with the official launch of Race to Zero, a campaign for companies to pledge to hit net zero emissions before 2050.

Officials hope Race to Zero will help build momentum for COP26, a major climate summit due to be held in Glasgow in November 2021.

By bringing together a huge coalition of businesses, investors and cities promising net zero emissions, organisers hope governments will be encouraged to commit to bolder national action on carbon emissions.

Alok Sharma, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and COP26 President, said: “The Race to Zero initiative will play an important part in encouraging businesses, other organisations and regional governments to increase their ambition and take action against climate change.”

The COP26 challenge

The UK is organising COP26 in partnership with Italy, but is facing an uphill struggle to deliver a successful summit. Coronavirus has pushed the dates of the event back by more than a year, and destroyed a carefully orchestrated schedule of diplomatic meetings designed to build international commitment to further action.

Meanwhile, the economic fallout from Covid-19 has raised fears countries will abandon low-carbon policy efforts in favour of fossil-fuel led recoveries.

Race to Zero has recruited some of the world’s most powerful businesses in an effort to counteract this threat.

Signatories already cover almost a quarter of global CO2 emissions and more than half of GDP. Businesses backing the campaign include Rolls-Royce, Nestle, Microsoft and PepsiCo, which have all promised to cut emissions in line with the Paris climate treaty.

To avoid accusations of greenwashing, Race to Zero members have to set interim carbon reduction targets and publish a net zero strategy by November 2021, organisers said.

Former Bank of England Governor and UN Special Envoy for Climate and Finance Mark Carney said: “Net zero targets must be underpinned by transition plans so that investors can assess which companies will seize the opportunities in the transition and which will cease to exist.”

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