Friday, June 24, 2022

India joins First Movers Coalition to decarbonise carbon-heavy sectors

First Movers Coalition a global initiative aimed at decarbonising the heavy industry and long-distance transport sectors responsible for 30 percent of global emissions

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New Delhi: India has joined the First Movers Coalition, a global initiative aimed at decarbonising the heavy industry and long-distance transport sectors responsible for 30 percent of global emissions, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry announced on Wednesday.

Launched by US President Joe Biden and the WEF at COP26 as a flagship public-private partnership to clean up the most carbon-intensive sectors, also saw 50 new corporate members with a collective market cap of USD 8.5 trillion joining the force.

Besides India, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Norway, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom have also joined the US as government partners to create early markets for clean technologies through policy measures and private sector engagements.

India, along with Japan and Sweden, has also joined the steering board of the coalition.

Kerry made the announcement alongside Bill Gates, founder of Breakthrough Energy, at a press briefing hosted by the World Economic Forum here during its Annual Meeting 2022.

Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, said, “India has been at the forefront of climate change actions. The idea of LIFE – “Lifestyle For Environment” – as highlighted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the call for a global mass movement on sustainable lifestyles, is very critical for combating climate change.”

India has also taken global leadership with initiatives like the International Solar Alliance, One Sun One World One Grid, and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, he added.

“We believe that the need of the hour is to strengthen technological innovation so as to have cost-effective climate technologies on a larger scale. The First Movers Coalition has a huge role to play in this and to achieve our climate goals,” Goyal added.

Led by the WEF and the US government, the First Movers Coalition targets sectors, including aluminium, aviation, chemicals, concrete, shipping, steel and trucking, which are responsible for 30 per cent of global emissions – a proportion expected to rise to over 50 per cent by mid-century without urgent progress on clean technology innovation.

The coalition’s members have committed to purchasing – out of their total industrial materials and long-distance transport spending – a percentage from suppliers using near-zero or zero-carbon solutions, despite the premium cost.

If enough global companies commit a certain percentage of their future purchasing to clean technologies in this decade, this will create a market tipping point that will accelerate their affordability and drive long-term, net-zero transformation across industrial value chains.

The new corporate members include global technology giants Alphabet and Microsoft, along with AES, Aveva, Ball Corporation, BHP, Consolidated Contractors Company, Ecolab, Enel, EY, FedEx, Ford Motor Company, HeidelbergCement, Mitsui OSK Lines, National Grid, Novelis, PWC, Schneider Electric, Swiss Re and Vestas.

In addition to the US government, the coalition now has India, Japan and Sweden in the Steering Board, as well as Denmark, Italy, Norway, Singapore and the United Kingdom as government partners.

These government partners will invite companies from their countries to join the coalition and pursue public policies to commercialise the green technologies corporate members commit to purchasing.

The coalition also announced two new target sectors: carbon dioxide removal and aluminium, which join the four existing sectoral pledges (aviation, shipping, steel and trucking) launched at COP26.

Alphabet, Microsoft and Salesforce have collectively committed USD 500 million to Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR). Microsoft will further serve as an expert partner by sharing lessons from its carbon removal auctions.

Boston Consulting Group (also the First Movers Coalition Knowledge Partner) committed to removing 100,000 tonnes of carbon.

Kerry said, “The purchasing commitments made by the First Movers Coalition represent the highest-leverage climate action that companies can take because creating the early markets to scale advanced technologies materially reduces the whole world’s emissions not just any company’s own footprint.”

“With today’s expansion, the coalition has achieved scale across the world’s leading companies and support from committed governments around the world to tackle the hardest challenge of the climate crisis: reducing the emissions from the sectors where we don’t yet have the toolkit to replace unabated fossil fuels and swiftly reach net-zero emissions,” he added.

Borge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, said, “The coalition’s members are truly the ‘First Movers’ who are focused on scaling disruptive innovations that pave the way for long-term transformation rather than the lower-hanging fruit of short-term process efficiency gains.”

Once the tipping point is reached in the market, the First Movers Coalition will demonstrate that a net- or near-zero transformation across the value chain is not only possible but that it will be no more expensive than the high-emitting alternative, he added.

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