Corporations continue to ignore President Trump’s charade over the Paris climate agreement.
During Climate Week NYC, the Climate Group announced a record number of companies have signed on to a 100 percent renewable power commitment by 2020. Major financial institutions Citi and JPMorgan Chase & Co. joined the pledge, bringing the group to 110 companies. Those corporations account for 150 terawatt-hours of energy per year.
The state of New York, where the event is taking place, consumes less energy than that in a year, according to the Energy Information Administration.
“Their leadership will help to shape energy markets away from fossil fuels and deliver on the Paris Agreement at speed,” said Helen Clarkson, CEO of the Climate Group, which organizes Climate Week.
Also this week, General Motors committed to powering 20 percent of its global operations with renewables by next year. And 305 companies representing $6.5 trillion in market value agreed to set emissions standards through the Science Based Targets Initiative.
In addition, the Ikea Foundation announced a $44.6 million grant for the We Mean Business coalition, which is dedicated to motivating the world’s most influential businesses to take action on climate change.
As Trump walks away from climate action, the rest of the global business community is rallying behind it.
Corporate renewable deals spiked to a cumulative 3.25 gigawatts in 2015, the year countries hashed out the Paris climate deal. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, they fell back to 1.61 gigawatts the following year. This year is already looking brighter, with 2.09 gigawatts in deals announced through September 19.
At the New York meeting, corporations took commitments a step further, announcing a new initiative through the Climate Group called EV100, to encourage the uptake of electric cars. According to its website, EV100 is “committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and making electric transport the new normal by 2030.”
The 10 companies leading the charge, including Ikea, HP Inc. and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), have committed to promoting electric vehicle uptake in a few different ways: adding electric vehicles to corporate fleets, including electric-vehicle requirements in service contracts, or installing charging infrastructure for employees.
In the announcement, HP said it would expand its workplace charging plan internationally. PG&E said it would expand charging stations for customers and staff.
Members of the new initiative will be helped along by policy and market forces. More automakers are building electric models, more countries are considering fossil-fuel car bans, and analysts and oil companies are revising electric vehicle projections upward.
One key aspect of EV100 is an attempt to “future-proof” operations while maintaining competitive edge.
The same is true for renewables. The 110 corporations now committed to the RE100 pledge represent $2.5 trillion in revenue -- and they’re hoping to see a return.
“They’re not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts,” said Clarkson in September while announcing new RE100 members. “Renewable power makes business sense.”