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Businesses, banks and cities all too often lie about net-zero goals

UN proposes shared rules and annual reporting on net-zero goals

(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Companies, banks and global cities have set a multitude of net-zero goals. But behind the promises, concretely, too often there is little. This lack of action for the climate risks pushing the planet even further away from the right trajectory towards 1.5 degrees. This is why we need “red lines” to avoid abuse, false commitments and pure and simple greenwashing. This is supported by the report of the expert group appointed by the UN to take stock of the credibility and transparency of the climate commitments of non-state actors.

Too many promises of climate neutrality are little more than empty slogans and announcements,” said Catherine McKenna, President of the Expert Group, and former Canadian Environment Minister, at the press conference presenting the report. “False net-zero declarations increase the costs that everyone will eventually pay”.

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The most pressing alarm concerns the unscrupulous use of carbon credits. Especially in emerging voluntary markets. “Non-State actors cannot buy low-cost credits, often without integrity, instead of immediately reducing their emissions along their value chain,” experts warn. Maximum use of high integrity voluntary markets, but only to strengthen climate engagement “beyond efforts to achieve intermediate targets aligned to 1.5°C, to increase financial flows in areas with little investment, and also to help the decarbonization of developing countries”.

The intermediate objectives are another central point. Companies, banks and cities must have short and medium-term targets, compatible with the 2030 objectives and the trajectory of 1.5°C, and based on science. Similarly, according to UN experts, the net-zero targets are not credible if we continue to invest in fossil fuels and if the cuts are only about carbon intensity instead of absolute emissions.

No more voluntary initiatives and not certified or monitored, then. The free all does not lead to zero net emissions, it is just a matrix of endless loopholes. Instead, we need shared and global rules: “we demand regulation starting from the large emitting companies, which includes the guarantee of their net-zero objectives and the obligation to report annually on the progress made“.

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