With all the challenges of this past year – the COVID-19 pandemic, a global economic recession and devastating bushfires in Australia and the US – I think it’s fair to say most of us look forward to putting 2020 behind us.
With each challenge however, comes the opportunity to reexamine old ways of operating and forge a better path into the future. Despite the unprecedented challenges we’ve faced globally, both health and economic, signs of promise are emerging.
While COVID-19 threatened the global economy, many industry and political leaders have earmarked the recovery response as an opportunity to reinvest in climate action. More than 1,200 major global companies have called for nations to “recover better” and prioritize investment in clean, renewable technologies to kick start global climate action. We’re proud to see corporate leaders stepping up to the climate challenge.
After four years of backpeddling on climate change, the US elected Joe Biden as President who has promised to rejoin the Paris Accord, make US electricity production carbon-free by 2035, invest $2 trillion to make energy efficiency upgrades to four million buildings, invest in public transport and electric vehicle manufacturing, and provide financial incentives to trade up to cleaner vehicles.
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and newly appointed Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland have publicly announced that decarboniztion will be a part of Canada’s COVID economic recovery. In a recent speech, Freeland declared “I think all Canadians understand that the restart of our economy needs to be green. It also needs to be equitable. It needs to be inclusive. And we need to focus very much on jobs and growth.”
Off the back of last years’ legally binding commitment to achieve net zero by 2050, the UK has now launched NABERS UK, taking the learnings from Australia’s highly acclaimed NABERS program and tailoring them to help drive operational building energy performance improvements for commercial offices in the UK.
Australia is stepping up its climate change commitments. This week, the Australian federal government dropped its previous plan to use Kyoto Protocol credits in order to achieve emission reduction targets. In addition, every state and territory government in Australia has now committed to a 2050 net zero target. Independent MP Zali Steggall has introduced a Federal climate change bill similar to those passed in the UK and New Zealand that not only formalizes a 2050 target, but calls for the establishment of an independent Climate Change Commission and the adoption a low emissions technology roadmap.
Now it’s time to do the hard work. The coming years will be critical to drive momentum into our climate change response and secure our future. We look forward to working with our clients and partners to help them accelerate their decarbonization journeys.
Thank you for your support in 2020. We hope you stay safe and healthy, and look forward to catching up with you in the new year.