Calls for accelerated climate actions for transport sectors

10th September 2018
Alex Lynn

From extreme droughts in Australia to heat waves in parts of Europe and North America and from excessive monsoons in India to floods in Japan. If there’s one thing that the past months have showed us it is that global warming is real and that the need for climate action is more imminent than ever.

Signify, together with the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a non-governmental organisation for energy efficiency, are therefore calling upon political leaders to implement regulatory measures that accelerate climate action. Signify is leading by example, having committed to having net-zero carbon buildings by 2030 and to operate a 100% electric and hybrid lease fleet by 2030.

Harry Verhaar, Head of Public and Government Relations at Signify, stated: “Today’s weather anomalies are the result of a temperature rise of only one degree Celsius. Imagine the impact on our daily lives when temperature rises two degrees or more. We - both political and business leaders - need to act now and accelerate targeted integrated policy interventions that foster sustainable business and safeguard a healthy planet for future generations.”

In a report that Verhaar and RMI published today at the UN’s Earth Innovation Forum in Tallinn, Estonia, the researchers predict a 3,000Twh increase in electricity demand by 2040 if the world switches to electric vehicles as fast as their fastest scenario – that is more than the total electricity consumption of the European Union in 2013. To ensure that the power grid has sufficient capacity to deal with such a revolution, the researchers advocate accelerated action from political leaders and to step up the renovation of buildings to improve their energy efficiency.

According to the researchers, increasing the current global building retrofit rate from approximately one percent per year to just over five percent per year, could accommodate baseline adoption of 550 million electric vehicles on the road through 2040 without increasing generation capacity dramatically. At the same time, this would help to successfully meet the two degrees Celsius target set by the Paris Agreement.

To realise this and speed up climate actions, Verhaar and RMI have called upon political leaders to develop building and electric vehicle policies in tandem, lowering costs that are associated with both. A combined approach would also enable the installation of electric charging stations during the renovations, they argue, which fosters the switch to electric vehicles.

Jamie Mandel, Managing Director for RMI’s Buildings program, added: “By working in tandem, the switch to electric vehicles can be an effective driver for building efficiency, while building efficiency is likely to provide the lowest-cost option to address electric vehicle grid infrastructure needs. An integrated policy approach is the only way to go if we want to limit the earth’s warming to two degrees Celsius.”

Signify is at the forefront of implementing energy efficiency measures. The company is committed to the World Green Business Council’s initiative to have all the buildings that it is using to be carbon neutral by 2030. In addition to that, Signify is also joining The Climate Group’s EV100 initiative to operate a 100% electric and hybrid lease fleet by 2030.

Bill Bien, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer at Signify, explained: “In order to create a net zero carbon society, we need to accelerate the switch to electric vehicles. Our EV100 commitment and the shift to electric vehicles is one way our Signify employees can directly contribute to our overall efforts in driving carbon footprint reduction and becoming carbon neutral.”

Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group, finished: “By committing to electric vehicles through our EV100 initiative, Signify is sending an important signal to the automobile industry to speed up the roll out of EVs around the world. Already a member of RE100, Signify’s charging points will run off renewable energy – maximising the environmental benefit of its EVs while providing storage solutions.

“To accelerate the transition to a clean energy system and demonstrate the demand policy makers need to set more stringent emissions goals, we need many more global businesses to step up and take the lead on EVs.”

Signify and RMI will elaborate on their research and sustainability commitments during the Global climate action summit in San Francisco, California from 12th to 14th September.

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