more promises, but not always convincing study finds

States, communities and businesses are multiplying the commitments of “carbon neutrality“but many present”major flawsAccording to an analysis made public on Monday. Of the main polluters, most developed countries have set themselves carbon neutral by 2050. China and India are aiming for 2060 and 2070 respectively.

The use of the concept has explodedexplains Frederic Hans, climate policy expert at the NGO NewClimate Institute and lead author of this analysis for the organization Net Zero Tracker. †But if you set the target without communicating the emission reductions that this target will bring, you cannot be held accountable for your actions.“, he underlines. The study analyzes data from 4,000 governments, cities, regions and large companies, focusing on the quality of the goals and whether there is a clear roadmap.

A third of the largest publicly traded companies have liabilities

State liabilities cover about 90% of global GDP, six times more than three years ago. And 235 major cities now have their own. A third of the largest publicly traded companies also have carbon neutrality obligations (702 compared to 417 in December 2020). †We are at a turning point where peer pressure to make quick commitments, especially in the economic world, could lead to massive greenwashing or a fundamental shift to decarbonisation.of economics, another author of the study, Takeshi Kuramochi, also of the NewClimate Institute.

On the part of the government, 65% of national commitments are now the subject of legal texts or recorded in official documents, compared to only 10% at the end of 2020. But of the 702 companies surveyed, only half have intermediate targets, a level “unacceptably low“, according to the study. And only 38% of companies take into account all their emissions, direct (production) but also indirect (suppliers and use) in their neutrality commitments.

The report also notes that the largest private polluters, particularly in the fossil fuel sector, are among the most promising targets:This undoubtedly reflects societal pressures on these sectors, but is perhaps more symbolic, or even pure and simple greenwashing, than genuine climate leadership.“. But the effect can also be virtuous, encouraging “companies to increase their ambitions and also regulators“says Frederik Hans.

In March, the UN launched an expert group to develop standards and an assessment of the carbon neutrality commitments of non-state actors, especially companies. According to UN climate experts, emissions must peak before 2025 and halve by 2030 compared to 2010 in order to meet the most ambitious target of the Paris Agreement, which is to limit global warming by +1 .5°C compared to the pre-industrial era.

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