Written by Dayne Delahoussaye
On Sept. 23, 2019, world leaders, members of the private sector, civil society, local authorities, and other international organizations will gather in New York City to discuss one of the highest-priority crises we face today: climate change.
The United Nations (UN) Climate Action Summit is expected to formally address what has been at the forefront of global conversation, with the goal of creating actionable plans. UN Secretary-General António Guterres is calling on all leaders to arrive with ideas to enhance their countries’ nationally determined contributions by 2020. The ultimate goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent over the next decade, and to net-zero emissions by 2050.
The Impact of Transportation
In 2017, the transportation sector accounted for 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA also reports that in 2010 the transportation sector produced 14 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally.
With transportation representing a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and across the globe, it is one of nine key themes of the UN Climate Action Summit. According to the summit’s website, attendees will work on “accelerating the shift away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy, as well as making significant gains in energy efficiency.”
Among those leading the sustainability movement in the private sector—and closely watching the outcomes of the summit—is Neste, the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel. Neste fully supports the goals of the UN Climate Action Summit, as sustainability is at the core of the company’s mission. From advocating for and implementing a circular economy model to producing a clean-burning renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel and renewable plastics and polymers through a sustainable supply-chain network, Neste is committed to creating a healthier planet.
World leaders should consider solutions the private sector has to offer. One possibility is renewable diesel.
Can Waste Fuel the Future?
Renewable diesel is not a fossil fuel. It’s a high-quality biofuel produced entirely from renewable fats, oils, and greases, as well as vegetable oils, in an advanced refining process. Compared to conventional fossil diesel, renewable diesel can reduce life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent when utilizing sustainable wastes and residues and, because it is cleaner-burning, can reduce engine-out fine particulates by 33 percent, and carbon monoxide by 24 percent.
Renewable diesel is also a true drop-in fuel, meaning it can be used in any existing diesel engine immediately, with no alterations required. That’s because on a molecular level, renewable diesel has the same chemical composition as fossil diesel, which makes renewable diesel an ideal solution to help meet climate goals.
Renewable diesel is just one small piece of a larger conversation about the changing climate. While this advanced diesel choice won’t fix climate change on its own, it is an easy switch that can be made today to make a sizable impact.
The Planet’s Future Depends on It
Neste and many others in the private sector are investing in the research and development of products that have the potential to shape the future of the climate on a global scale. Involving the private sector in conversations like the UN Climate Action Summit offers a range of ideas and perspectives, and it enables world leaders to capitalize on a shared interest in the future of the planet.
An open dialogue with fresh perspectives is the best way to create real change, and witnessing such an exchange in a few short weeks at the UN Climate Action Summit is sure to be historic.
Dayne Delahoussaye is the senior advisor of North American public affairs at Neste. He works closely with legislators and energy stakeholders to provide sustainable, advanced low-carbon fuels. Visit NesteMY.com for more information.