Just 13 out of 132 of the world’s largest coal, electricity and oil and gas companies have made commitments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero, a study has found.
Researchers at the London School of Economics, the University of Oxford and the Transition Pathway Initiative looked at public disclosures from 20 coal companies, 62 electricity companies, and 50 oil and gas companies.
Of the 132 companies, nine electricity companies, three coal companies, and one oil and gas producer have made plans to reach net-zero.
The researchers also found that the extent of the commitments to reducing emissions varies, just over half of the companies acknowledged the aims of the Paris Agreement to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C, and only three pledged to eliminate indirect emissions.
Professor Cameron Hepburn, director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford said: ‘Four years on from the signing of the Paris Agreement, our findings show that most of the world’s largest energy companies have yet to develop plans compliant with one of its key goals: to eliminate net emissions of carbon dioxide over the next three decades.’
‘This exposes investors to significant financial risk as the implementation of the Paris Agreement leads to polluting assets becoming stranded.’
Professor Simon Dietz, professor of environmental policy at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics said: ‘Climate science tells us that net carbon dioxide emissions must fall to zero to stabilise global temperatures and that limiting the temperature increase to 1.5°C requires global carbon dioxide emissions to reach net-zero around 2050.’
‘Although new corporate net-zero commitments are being made all the time, our analysis shows that we are starting from a very low base.’
Adam Mathews, co-chair of Transition Pathway Initiative said: ‘This is important and much-needed research that highlights the gap between what is needed to achieve 1.5 degrees and where current commitments from companies are at.’
‘While it’s clear that the energy sector is far from where it should be on planning for net-zero, 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.’
According to Carbon Tracker, oil and gas companies must cut combined production by more than a third by 2030 in order to keep emissions within the international climate targets.
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