The report casts doubt on the promises of large global companies regarding net zero emissions

Companies’ plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not achieving what is needed to combat climate change, as “major gaps in credibility” have been identified among the world’s largest companies, according to a new review of net zero efforts in the public and private sectors.

About half of Forbes 2000’s largest companies have not yet announced plans to reach a net zero – the point at which greenhouse gas emissions are offset by deep reductions in production and methods to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide. Of the 702 companies with a zero goal, two-thirds have not made it clear how they intend to achieve that goal, Net Zero Tracker found in its annual report.

Net Zero Tracker, partly run by the UK-based Energy and Climate Information Unit (ECIU) and the University of Oxford, estimates publicly available data for around 200 countries and large public companies, including those in fossil fuels.

“We see a lot of problems with the credibility and the quality and robustness of these goals,” said co-author Frederic Hans, a climate policy analyst at the NewClimate Institute, the German think tank.

Many zero-target companies have not set any intermediate emission targets before 2050, the report said, “unacceptably low” if the world is to halve emissions over the next eight years, scientists say.

Carbon netting – or buying credits for reduced emissions elsewhere – has also been an important part of corporate strategies. Nearly 40% of Forbes 2000 companies with a net target target plan to use compensation, despite concerns about a lack of regulation.

Governments will need to introduce legal standards and regulations to ensure net zero progress, said co-author John Lang of the ECIU. At the moment, companies are confused about what they need. “They don’t know what information needs to be disclosed,” he said.

At its Glasgow climate summit last year, the United Nations set up a group of experts to produce net zero standards for the private sector and analyze commitments. The European Union is also in the process of preparing netting standards without net worth, to be adopted in November. The current draft text prohibits companies from counting carbon offsets to zero.

“We need to have mandatory top-down regulations to enforce them,” Lang said. However, he doubted that this issue could be resolved before the next UN climate summit, “COP27”, in November in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt. “It probably won’t be possible to fix it before COP28” in 2023, he said. – Reverse

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