The threat of global warming is looming large over us, as climate change evolves into climate crisis. The need for us to transition into a climate-neutral society should be our topmost priority, in case we hope to avoid a climate catastrophe.
The Paris Agreement
The European Union understands the urgency of this matter. It, therefore, aims to be climate-neutral by 2050 – an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. This objective is at the heart of the European Green Deal and in line with the EU’s commitment to global climate action under the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding global climate change agreement, adopted at the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015 which sets out a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C; and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. It also aims to strengthen countries’ ability to deal with the impacts of climate change and support them in their efforts.
“The Paris Agreement set out a unifying roadmap for all countries and all people to address the climate crisis by taking action. By joining The Climate Pledge, signatories are not just making a statement of commitment to the future, they also are setting a pathway to significant actions and investments that will create jobs, spur innovation, regenerate the natural environment, and help consumers to buy more sustainable products,” says Christiana Figueres, the UN’s former climate change chief, and Global Optimism’s founding partner.
The Climate Pledge
In a recent development, during Web Summit 2020, Amazon and Global Optimism announced that Boom Supersonic, Cabify, JetBlue, Rivian, and Uber have joined The Climate Pledge, a commitment to be net-zero carbon by 2040 – a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050.
In total, 18 organisations have now signed The Climate Pledge, these include Amazon, Best Buy, Boom, Cabify, Henkel, Infosys, JetBlue, McKinstry, Mercedes-Benz, Oak View Group, Real Betis, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), Rivian, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Signify, Uber, and Verizon.
These companies are sending an important signal that there will be rapid growth in demand for products and services that help reduce carbon emissions.
Signatories to The Climate Pledge agree to:
- Measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis
- Implement decarbonisation strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business changes and innovations, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon-emission elimination strategies
- Neutralise any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially beneficial offsets to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, says, “By signing The Climate Pledge, companies around the world are making a bold commitment to help protect our planet from the devastating impacts of climate change. The transportation sector plays a critical role in accelerating our carbon reduction goals, and we welcome Boom, Cabify, JetBlue, Rivian, and Uber as they join us on the journey to net-zero carbon by 2040.”
“The 18 companies who have signed The Climate Pledge so far are demonstrating leadership in the vital transition to a low-carbon economy that will help preserve the environment for future generations,” he further adds.
Work in progress
The new signatories are implementing real, science-based, high-impact changes to their businesses, including deploying renewable energy, investing in sustainable buildings, and mobilising supply chains to reach net-zero carbon by 2040.
Boom began as a vision to make the world more accessible. It is inspired by Concorde’s technology and the human connection enabled by faster flight, the company set out to build a new era of supersonic travel. Earlier in February 2020, the company announced that the test program for its XB-1 demonstrator will be carbon neutral, through the use of sustainable aviation fuels and high-quality, vetted carbon offsetting.
Mobility platform, Cabify, operating in Europe and Latin America is a carbon-neutral company since 2018 and has decided to join The Climate Pledge. “Within our industry, we were the first net-zero mobility app by offsetting 100% of the carbon emissions we generate, including rides booked in our app (Scope 3). In addition, we are also closely measuring and reducing emissions for our corporate activity as well as aiming to electrify our collaborating transportation fleet in Spain and Latin America – by 2025 and 2030, respectively,” the company told Silicon Canals.
Cabify is focused on increasing environmental protections and promoting renewable energies by working on large-scale efforts in Chile, Peru, and Brazil using solutions like blockchain technology for carbon offsetting.
“Efficient urban mobility is key in the fight against climate change. Cabify wants to be part of the solution, and that’s why for the third year in a row we have committed to offsetting the carbon emissions that our riders and operations generate while we continue to support the electrification of the fleets we work with,” says Juan de Antonio, founder of Cabify.
It is an airline company, which in July 2020, claims to become the first and only US airline to achieve carbon neutrality for all domestic flights. It now expects to ramp up to over 7 million metric tons of CO2 emissions offset each year – the annual equivalent of removing more than 1.5 million passenger vehicles from the road.
JetBlue began flying regularly out of San Francisco International Airport in July 2020 using a type of sustainable aviation fuel, which enables up to an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions before being blended with traditional jet fuel.
The company has developed and vertically integrated a connected electric platform that can be flexibly applied to a range of applications including the company’s adventure products as well as B2B products such as the Amazon last-mile delivery vans.
The company’s launch products, the R1T and R1S, deliver more than 400 miles of range and provide combinations of performance including off-road capability, and utility. These vehicles use the company’s flexible skateboard platform and will be produced at Rivian’s manufacturing plant in Normal, Ill., with customer deliveries expected to begin in 2021.
Ride-hailing giant Uber has also committed to becoming a fully zero-emission platform by 2040, with 100% of rides taking place in zero-emission vehicles, on public transit, or with micro-mobility options such as bikes and scooters. The company has set a goal to provide 100% of rides in electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030 in the US, Canadian, and European cities. Besides, Uber has also committed to reaching net-zero emissions from its corporate operations by 2030.
To reach these goals, Uber is expanding Uber Green to make it easier for riders to choose to travel in hybrids or EVs; dedicating $800M in resources to help drivers transition to EVs by 2025; investing in its multimodal network to provide sustainable alternatives to personal cars; and, being transparent and accountable to the public along the way.
About Global Optimism
Global Optimism exists to precipitate transformational, sector-wide change, with an aim for a zero-emissions future. Every scientific assessment shows that to meet the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, to keep global heating below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we must halve our emissions between 2020 and 2030. It works with like-minded collectives from all sectors who are willing to invest in the choices required to be on this challenging – and life-affirming – journey.
Image credit: The Climate Pledge