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Fossil Fuel Companies ‘Doing Little to Meet Net Zero Goals’

Dozens of fossil fuel companies have set net-zero emissions targets, but these moves are regarded as “largely meaningless” because most fail to address key concerns

Many big fossil fuel firms have set net-zero emissions targets, but they are "largely meaningless" because most fail to address key concerns.
Some 75 of the world's biggest fossil fuel companies have vowed to meet net zero goals, but few have actually done anything, monitors say. This AFP photo shows coal power plants in Jiangsu.


No fossil fuel companies are making commitments to move away from the production or extraction of oil, gas and coal, a report said on Monday.

Dozens of fossil fuel companies have set net-zero emissions targets over the past year, but these moves are regarded as “largely meaningless” because most fail to address key concerns, the report said.

Some 75 of the world’s largest 112 fossil fuel companies have now committed to reaching net-zero – the point at which greenhouse gas emissions are negated by deep cuts in output elsewhere and methods to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide.

That’s up from just 51 a year ago, according to the assessment of publicly available data by Net Zero Tracker, run in part by the Britain-based Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit and the University of Oxford.


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But most targets do not fully cover or lack transparency on Scope 3 emissions — which include the use of a company’s products, the biggest source of emissions for fossil fuel companies — or don’t include short-term reduction plans, the report added.

That made them “largely meaningless”, it said. The report also found that none of the fossil fuel companies were making the needed commitments to move away from fossil fuel extraction or production.

As it stands, some 4,000 countries, states, regions, cities and companies globally have now committed to net-zero. Last November, the UN issued guidance on what a ‘good’ net-zero strategy should look like to avoid ‘greenwashing’.

“We haven’t yet seen a huge move from fossil fuel companies or other companies on meeting those (guidelines), so there’s still a lot of work to do to come up to that level,” said Thomas Hale of the University of Oxford, who co-authored the report.

Daisy Streatfield, sustainability director at global asset manager Ninety One, said “credible plans and meaningful execution are not going to happen overnight”, with many companies doing a better job than national governments.

A study published last week in the journal Science found that about 90% of countries’ net-zero targets were unlikely to be achieved.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard




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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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