Hewlett Packard, Levi Strauss, Unilever, Vodafone & Mahindra Group are among the 28 companies who vowed to limit temperatures to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels
Twenty-eight companies from across the world, with a combined market capitalisation of $1.3 trillion, have set new climate targets aligned with the ambition of limiting the global rise of temperatures to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This is according to Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, the United Nations (UN) secretary-general’s special envoy for the Climate Action Summit.
The summit will be held in New York from September 23-28, 2019.
The companies include Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Levi Strauss and Co, Unilever, Vodafone Plc and Mahindra Group. These companies will motivate more countries to come up with enhanced nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in line with the 1.5°C target instead of 2°C at the climate summit, Alba told reporters at a press briefing in New Delhi on July 23.
NDCs are voluntary commitments on reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions made by countries as mentioned in the Paris Agreement.
According to the new target, the world will have to cut its GHG emissions by 45 per cent in the next 11 years and bring it to zero by 2050. Companies can set their own targets through the science-based targets initiative (SBTi) which independently assesses corporate emissions reduction targets against the latest climate science.
“The companies will also be responsible to share their work on implementation with the UN Global Compact and they will be monitored regularly though there will be no penalties or sanctions for non-compliance,” Alba said.
The UN Global Compact is a special initiative of the UN secretary general that works with companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
“Till now countries like Norway, United Kingdom, Chile and Costa Rica have publicly announced that they will revise their NDCs, but we are expecting many more to make the announcements as we inch closer to the summit,” Alba said.
“The secretary general had circulated a note regarding the announcements to all countries and is expecting replies by August 7,” he added.
While India is expected to attend the summit, it has not yet made public its intention to enhance its NDC. Leaders from over a 100 countries along with representatives from corporations, civil society and other international organisations are expected to attend the summit.
Alba also met environment minister Prakash Javadekar on July 23.
“Explained him about India’s achievements in Climate Change mitigation and adaptation sectors under the able leadership of PM Narendra Modi and emphasised that we are walking the talk on NDCs,” Javadekar shared in a tweet.
“India is taking leadership position in achieving the NDCs. We have already created 80 GW of renewable power and have set a target of achieving 175 GW by 2022. We have already reduced energy intensity by 21 per cent and are on track,” he added.
Ahead of the summit, the UN, on July 23, also announced the Clean Air Initiative and called on governments to commit to achieving air quality that is safe for citizens and align the issues of climate change and air pollution by 2030.
Clean air is a major problem, as according to the World Health Organization, air pollution annually kills 7 million people all over the world, 600,000 of them being children.
On the other hand, if the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement are achieved more than 1 million lives can be saved because of reduction in air pollution. Besides, the world will also reap health benefits worth $54.1 trillion, which is twice the cost of the required climate change mitigation measures.
The achieve these, governments must take initiative to implement e-mobility and other sustainable mobility practices, reduce road transport emissions by other means and assess the financial gains.
“The call to improve air quality is part of a wider movement to harness social and political drivers to improve people’s health, reduce inequities, promote social justice and maximise opportunities of decent work for all, while protecting the climate for future generations,” according to a UN release.
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