Roughly half of the emission reductions needed to reach the 2050 climate goals rely on technologies in early development, demonstration or prototype phases, while accelerating innovation in this decade is critical to bring these technologies to market and make them cost-competitive.
To jump-start this effort, the WEF, in partnership with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, has announced the First Movers Coalition, a new platform for companies to make purchasing commitments that create new market demand for low-carbon technologies.
The commitments aim to be collectively significant enough to commercialise decarbonisation technologies. The Coalition will create a long-term impact by driving milestones this decade through investment into these technological solutions.
It will work across eight key sectors, seven of which — steel, cement, aluminium, chemicals, shipping, aviation, and trucking — account for more than a third of global carbon emissions but do not have cost-competitive clean energy alternatives to fossil fuels.
The eighth, direct air capture, could reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to help achieve net-zero global emissions but also requires technological innovation to reach commercial viability, the WEF said.
The founding members of the Coalition include Agility, Airbus, Amazon, Apple, Bain & Company, Bank of America, Boston Consulting Group, Boeing, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited, Delta Air Lines, Mahindra Group, Nokia, ReNew Power, Salesforce, United Airlines, Volvo Group and Yara International.
WEF President Borge Brende said, “Technology has given us the tools to reduce our emissions and build a stronger and more inclusive economy of the future. For innovators and investors to play their part in tackling the climate crisis, they need clear market demand.”
“The First Movers Coalition will leverage the collective purchasing power of leading companies and drive the need for these technologies. I call on business leaders to work with us and be the role models keeping our climate goals alive,” he said.
Kerry said the First Movers Coalition is a platform for the world’s leading global companies to make purchasing commitments to create early markets for critical technologies needed to achieve net-zero by 2050. “In this critical decade, we not only need to deploy as rapidly as possible existing clean energy technologies, such as wind turbines, solar panel, and battery storage, but also drive innovation for our long-term decarbonisation goals.”
As the first phase commitments target new technologies and aim to create a market by 2030 that can be ramped up to achieve decarbonisation in 2050. Founding members have made commitments in at least one of these sectors.
As part of this, members of the coalition have committed to using emerging technologies including sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) with significant emissions reductions, electric, and hydrogen propulsion for air travel by 2030.
Airlines and air transport companies have set a target of replacing at least five per cent of conventional jet fuel demand with SAF, which reduces the life-cycle of GHG emissions by 85 per cent or more when compared with conventional jet fuel, and/or using zero-carbon emitting propulsion technologies by 2030. Similar targets have been set for airfare and air freight purchasers.
For the steel sector, members have committed to purchasing volumes of near-zero-emissions steel by 2030. The deployment of breakthrough iron and steelmaking technology is needed to deliver a net-zero steel sector with minimal residual emissions.
These technologies include hydrogen direct reduction, carbon capture use and storage, and electrolysis-based production processes. Steel purchasers set a target that at least 10 per cent of their annual steel procurement volumes by 2030 meet or exceed the First Movers Coalition definition for near-zero emissions steel.
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