The Most Important Climate Pledges Aren’t the Splashy Ones


Companies are outlining their new decarbonization targets and clean investment strategies with hefty declarations such as Walmart Inc.’s plan to reach zero emissions across its global operations in 20 years without relying on carbon offsets. It’s worth watching these announcements, even if their impact is unclear. There have been other commitments recently, though, that are even more immediate, and possibly more compelling. They’re quieter; they’re more technical; they start small. But they’re also forcing functions—they won’t just target change, they’ll make it happen. To learn more, read “The Most Important Climate Pledges Aren’t the Splashy Ones.” (Reading this article requires a subscription.)

Key Takeaways:

  • Reinsurance giant Swiss Re AG’s decision to raise its internal carbon price, which companies use to estimate the costs of various business decisions, to $100 per metric ton next year, gradually increasing to $200 by 2030.
  • Swiss Re also announced that it will cut emissions from air travel by 30% in 2021 relative to a 2018 benchmark, which means that “the currently suppressed business travel activity will not go back to the pre-COVID-19 levels.
  • New Zealand will be the first country in the world to report on climate risks based on the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures framework. About 200 organizations will now be required to disclose their exposure to phenomena such as extreme heat and rising heats by 2023, including NZ Super Fund, the country’s government savings institution.

Path to 100% Perspective:

The path to 100% is possible, practical, and financially viable, but if decarbonization plans are not rooted in science as well as data and engineering, complexity will give way to unrealistic goals. Viable plans are developed using cost-effective measures and realistic scenarios to reach 100% renewable generation with a goal of rapidly reducing fossil fuel consumption.

Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg