90% of world’s largest energy firms have no net-zero targets

Just 13 of the world’s 132 largest coal, electricity, and oil and gas firms have committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to net zero, a new study has uncovered.

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National Grid and EDF are among the 13 companies to have set a net zero date for at least one of their core business activities, however, the extent of these commitments varies.

Nine have set a 2050 target, while four are aiming for 2025, but just three have pledged to eliminate indirect emissions, such as those produced by generating electricity to use in their operations.

The researchers also found that around half of the 132 firms acknowledge the Paris Agreement’s aim to limit global warming to 1.5˚C, although just two in five have declared their support.

Only one in five companies explicitly acknowledge the need to achieve net-zero emissions.

“This highlights the gap between what is needed to achieve 1.5˚C and where current commitments from companies are at,” said Adam Matthews, co-chair of the Transition Pathway Initiative, which co-published the research.

“The fact that we are beginning to assess these commitments, as well as letting companies know we are scrutinising their approach, will no doubt drive further company responses.”

Energy supply and use are thought to account for around 72% of global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to man-made climate change.

The latest study found that BHP, Exxaro, South32, CEZ, EDF, Endesa. Enel, E.ON, Lberdrola, National Grid, Ørsted, XCEL Energy and Eni are the only firms to have set a net-zero date.

This comes after scientists warned last year that global warming greater than 1.5˚C risks long-lasting or irreversible changes for the planet.

They estimate that global human-caused emissions of CO2 need to reach net zero by around 2050, with many businesses and countries having since committed to the goal.

“Climate science tells us that net carbon dioxide emissions must fall to zero to stabilise global temperatures,” said professor Simon Dietz of the Grantham Research Institute, which co-published the research.

“Although new corporate net zero commitments are being made all the time, our analysis shows that we are starting from a very low base.”

 

Image credit: ©iStock

Author: 

Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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