Tuesday 12 November 2019 12:01 am

Just one in ten energy suppliers have made net-zero plans

Only 10 per cent of the world’s biggest energy suppliers have made a dated commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero.

According to research published this morning, 13 out of the largest 132 coal, electricity, and oil and gas companies have set a date by which they have pledged to be carbon-neutral.

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Nine of these set 2050 as their date for achieving zero-carbon status, with the other four setting 2030 or 2025.

Four fossil fuel extraction companies have set targets, including three coal miners – BHP Billiton, Exxaro Resources, and South32 – as well as Italian oil and gas producer Eni.

Apart from Exxaro, these companies commitment only applies to operational emissions, a small share of full lifecycle emissions.

The rest of the companies to make up the list were energy suppliers, with CEZ, EDF, Endesa, Enel, E.ON, Iberdrola, National Grid, Orsted and XCEL Energy all making commitments covering at least their direct emissions.

In all, only three of the companies pledged to eliminate indirect emissions (such as the emissions produced by generating the electricity used in their processes, or down the line from coal or gas extracted by the company.

The research also finds that just 54 per cent explicitly acknowledge the aims of the Paris Agreement to pursue efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, but just 39 per cent stated their support for these aims.

In addition, only one in five of the firms surveyed explicitly acknowledged the need to reach net-zero 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.

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

The cut-off date for the analysis, which was carried out by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford, and the Transition Pathway Initiative, was 16 August.

Main image credit: Getty