Heavy industry, transport sectors to align on net-zero climate plans

© Reuters.

By Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Over 400 companies across some of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitting industries – from shipping to steelmaking – have agreed to work together on plans to decarbonize by 2050, according to a coalition of climate advocacy groups that set up the partnership.

The agreement, to be announced at the virtual Davos World Economic Forum on Wednesday, includes giants like miner Arcelor Mittal, shipper Maersk, and oil behemoth Shell (LON:). It is intended to complement rising international ambition to make the aggressive emissions cuts scientists say are necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Companies in the agreement represent seven global industries – steel, cement, chemicals, aluminum, shipping, aviation, and trucking – that together account for nearly one-third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The deal, dubbed the Mission Possible Partnership, commits those companies to work with competitors, investors, suppliers and buyers to devise “climate action agreements” by 2024 to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The partnership aims to accelerate global efforts to combat climate change under the Paris climate agreement. But countries’ pledges to meet the goal of halting the rise on global temperatures to 1.5 degrees C are not sufficient and require key industries to slash their emissions.

For example, airplane manufacturer Airbus, airlines like KLM , airports such as Heathrow and fuel providers like Shell will cooperate to map out a net zero plan for the entire sector and speed the transition to sustainable aviation fuels such as biofuels, for one example.

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“It’s not only about corporations making a climate commitment but bringing the whole supply chain together so the sectors have an incentive to decarbonize and work faster to reduce their emissions,” Maria Mendiluce, CEO of the We Mean Business climate coalition, told Reuters.

We Mean Business is co-organizing the partnership with the Energy Transitions Commission, Rocky Mountain Institute and the World Economic Forum. The organizers say they hope the partnership will create momentum for the next round of international climate talks in Glasgow in November.

International climate negotiations are expected to get a boost now that U.S. President Joe Biden has announced Washington’s return to the Paris climate deal to cut emissions, a pact his predecessor Donald Trump rejected.

Funding for the Mission Possible Partnership came from Amazon (NASDAQ:) founder Jeff Bezos’ climate-focused Bezos Earth Fund and Microsoft (NASDAQ:) founder Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy fund.

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