By Ira Srivastava

1. One-third of the European Union’s electricity is renewable. Think tank Ember has reported that the European Union hit a number of energy transition milestones at the beginning of Q2 this year. In April 2024, just 23% of the EU’s energy demand was met by fossil fuels, which is a historic low. Coal and gas also reached historic lows over the same time period. While energy demand grew this year, fossil fuel usage still fell significantly. The EU’s energy emissions have fallen by 22%. This was primarily due to boosting solar, wind, and hydroelectric capacity. Germany, Italy, and Spain were the member states with the biggest decrease in fossil fuel combustion last month. The EU is a success story of the energy transition as it is able to meet growing electricity demand with renewable energy sources. 

2. launches its largest carbon capture project in partnership with Microsoft., a reforestation company, has partnered with Microsoft to deliver 3 million tons worth of carbon credits over 15 years. This will be done primarily via reforesting 16,000 hectares of land in Brazil with native species. These efforts will be focused along Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, a region in eastern Brazil that has seen more deforestation than any other part of the country. It is a significant biodiversity hotspot, as there is “nowhere else on the planet [where] one hectare of restored land [prevents] more species extinctions” according to’s CEO. Nearly 11 million seedlings will be planted in the hopes of carbon capture, promoting biodiversity restoration, and climate regulation. 

3. March 2024 saw the highest recorded atmospheric carbon dioxide increase. This March saw carbon dioxide concentrations that were 4.7 parts per million (ppm) higher than concentrations in March 2023, “a record-breaking increase in CO2 levels over a 12-month period”. 2024 being an El Niño year is partially responsible for this jump, but deforestation and fossil fuel combustion are to blame as well. The previous record for greatest annual increase of CO2 occurred in June 2016, when CO2 concentrations increased by 4.1ppm. Climate monitoring stations around the world have consistently reported increases in CO2 concentrations each year. Mauna Loa’s CO2 reporting station recently recorded concentrations of 426ppm, the highest concentrations the world has seen in millions of years. 

4. More insurance firms exit Climate Action 100+. The beleaguered coalition of investors formed in 2017 is seeing more and more significant departures. Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance firms, has pulled out of the Climate Action 100+. The firm cites “streamlining the number of its sustainability agreements… to focus our resources and advance our group-wide sustainability strategy more effectively” as the primary reason. Despite this, many of the firms that have left the Climate Action 100+ stated it was due to the overly restrictive and higher expectations of the coalition’s second phase. Political backlash is another reason that organizations have cited, as BlackRock’s US operations left the coalition due to the risk of legal consequences. 

5. LEGO links annual bonuses to climate goals. Salaried employees of the LEGO Group will now have their annual bonuses tied to emissions reduction goals. As of this year, executive pay will also be linked to carbon emission KPIs. The group has previously set ambitious Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions targets as well as a goal of investing nearly US$1.5 billion in sustainability between now and 2026. Scope 3 emissions are responsible for 98% of the LEGO Group’s carbon emissions, so setting and working towards these targets will result in significant emissions reductions. Tying compensation and bonuses to sustainability KPIs is an important incentive for climate action.

Ira Srivastava is Competent Boards’ Program Coordinator. Follow Competent Boards on LinkedIn.

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