Despite uncertainty as to whether the U.S. will continue to play a part in global renewable energy adoption and fossil fuel reduction, business and other countries’ governments continue to ride the wave of commitments that have arisen from COP22 last month.
Continuing the momentum, this week French multinational bank BNP Paribas announced its inaugural €500 million green bond after committing to double its support of renewable energies from €7.2bn in 2015 to €15bn in 2020. The group has also decided to strengthen its policies for the management of carbon risk in order to comply with the international consensus aiming to restrict global warming to a 2ºC increase over pre-industrial levels.
“The launch of our inaugural green bond today amplifies our commitment to sustainability and to supporting projects which have a positive impact,” said Michel Konczaty, Deputy COO of BNP Paribas. “We look forward to working together in continuing to deliver market-based challenges.”
Meanwhile, IKEA has announced its continued action to incorporate renewable energies by installing biogas-powered fuel cell systems at two of its Southern California stores, Costa Mesa and Covina. The Swedish retailer began with a similar project in Emeryville and is planning a fuel cell system at other California and New Haven stores. In total, IKEA will generate 1.5MW of energy via fuel cells, supplementing onsite solar arrays atop these stores, contracting with Sunnyvale-based Bloom Energy, a provider of a new solid oxide fuel cell technology generating clean, highly efficient on-site power.
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“Plugging-in this fuel cell system is an exciting milestone that complements our existing rooftop solar array,” Laurie Helm, manager of IKEA’s Costa Mesa store, said in a statement.
This builds on IKEA’s other commitments to energy and resource conservation with projects that include warehouse skylights, recyclable construction materials, owning two wind farms, and installing electric vehicle charging stations at 14 locations.
As businesses continue to commit to reducing dependence on fossil fuels, so do international governments. Both Canada and Finland continue to push renewable energy further by pledging to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2030
“We know the world is moving to a low-carbon future,” Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Environment Minister said. “This is part of it.”
The goal is to make sure 90 percent of Canada’s electricity comes from renewable sources, up from 80 percent currently, planning to implement a minimum carbon price by 2018.
Additionally, Finland continues to steadily decrease its reliance on coal-fired power generation. The country’s “Energy and Climate Strategy for 2030 and Beyond” plan aims to stop producing energy from coal within 14 years and make energy production carbon-neutral by 2050.
“Utilising the potential of Finnish renewable energy to produce electricity at an industrial level is one of the central questions in achieving long-term energy and climate goals,” said Oli Rehn, Finland’s Economic Affairs Minister. “The national climate and energy strategy decided today in the cabinet meets the tough targets from a Finnish standpoint.”
The country plans to meet their target by increasing the number of electric cars on Finnish roads from 1,000 to 250,000 by 2030 and the number of biogas-driven cars from a current negligible number to 50,000.
Meanwhile, Finnish energy company Neste has launched a campaign this holiday season to contribute to the renewable energy plan. The company plans to create renewable fuel using Christmas dinner leftovers, taking unwanted fat from hams donated by Finnish households and converting it into renewable diesel at the company’s Porvoo refinery. Neste calculates that the waste fat from roasting a single joint of ham can be converted into approximately two miles’ worth of fuel for a car.
Continuing the efforts to restrict global warming to a 2ºC increase over pre-industrial levels, other commitments from European countries to limit greenhouse gases include Britain phasing out coal-fired power plants by 2025 and Denmark becoming fossil fuel-free by 2050.