Just 10% of World’s Energy Firms Have Plans to Meet Net-Zero Target

Just 10% of the world’s biggest energy companies have so far made commitments to reduce their carbon emissions to net-zero, according to research.

A recent report has analysed 132 of the world’s largest coal, electricity, and oil and gas firms, and revealed that just thirteen have already made a date by which to target net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The report has been jointly published by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE, Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford and the Transition Pathway Initiative.

Out of the thirteen companies to set a date, nine of them have targeted 2050 while the remaining four have chosen either 2030 or 2025. The companies to have set a date so far include four fossil fuel extraction firms – BHP Billiton, Exxaro Resources, South32 and Eni – plus CEZ, EDF, Endesa, Enel, E.ON, Iberdrola, National Grid, Orsted and XCEL Energy.

“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,” said Professor Cameron Hepburn, director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford.

“This exposes investors to significant financial risk as implementation of the Paris Agreement leads to polluting assets becoming stranded.”

Simon Dietz, professor of environmental policy at the Grantham Research Institute, 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 degrees 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.”

In a separate report from consultancy firm Capgemini, it was revealed that both global demand for energy and greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise throughout 2018. Global emissions rose by 2% last year, an increase on the 1.6% growth seen in 2017. According to the report, nearly three-quarters of that growth was fuelled by fossil fuels.

“With global energy demand rising and mostly being met by fossil fuel competition, the objectives of the Paris accord are looking more distant than ever,” said Phillip Vié, Global Energy, Utilities and Chemicals Sector Leader at Capgemini.

“It’s notable that we are seeing these disturbing trends even as renewable energy sources become more prevalent and affordable. We need bolder short-term measures and policies to reduce emissions and avoid further deviations from the Paris accord, starting with a commitment that every dollar collected in environmental taxes will go towards energy transition projects.”

Fergus Cole
Written by Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.

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