According to a new inventory of net-zero activities in the public and commercial sectors, corporate intentions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions fall short of what is required to tackle climate change, with “major credibility gaps” discovered among the world’s top firms.
Approximately half of the Forbes 2000 biggest corporations have yet to disclose plans to achieve net-zero emissions – the point at which greenhouse gas emissions are neutralized by drastic reductions in production as well as ways to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide. According to Net Zero Tracker’s yearly report, two-thirds of the 702 organizations with a net-zero ambition have not said how they intend to reach that goal.
Net Zero Tracker, which is administered in part by the UK-based Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) and the University of Oxford, evaluates publicly accessible data for about 200 nations as well as big publicly listed firms, including those in the fossil fuels industry.
“We see a lot of issues with credibility, and the quality and robustness of these targets,” said study co-author Frederic Hans, a climate policy expert at the German think tank NewClimate Institute.
Many corporations with net-zero plans have established no intermediate emissions goals for before 2050, which the study called “unacceptably low” if the world is to cut emissions in half in the next eight years, as experts believe is required.
Carbon offsetting, or the purchase of credits for emissions decreased elsewhere, was also significant among business tactics. Despite worries about a lack of regulation, over 40% of the Forbes 2000 firms with a net-zero aim intend to apply offsets.
To achieve net-zero progress, governments will need to establish legal rules and restrictions, according to ECIU co-author John Lang. Companies are now perplexed about what is expected of them. “They don’t know what information has to be disclosed,” he said.
The United Nations formed an expert panel last year at its climate conference in Glasgow to develop net-zero criteria for the business sector and analyze pledges. The European Union is also working on net-zero reporting requirements, which will be implemented in November. Companies cannot count carbon offsets toward net-zero emissions under the existing draft legislation. more info
“We have to have mandatory, top-down regulations to guide them,” Lang added. He did not believe the matter could be settled by the next United Nations climate meeting, “COP27,” in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt, in November. He believes that “probably cannot be fixed before COP28” in 2023.