Cop: Net zero targets misaligned with science: Report

  • Market: Emissions
  • 12/04/23

Net zero targets are "misaligned" with science as only a small proportion include a commitment to phase out exploration, production and consumption of coal, oil or gas, a report from the Net Zero Tracker consortium found today.

National net zero targets cover 88pc of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but just 7pc of those emissions are covered by a commitment to phase out a fossil fuel, the report, launched at the UN Cop 28 climate summit, found. The report covers commitments to phase out the exploration, production or use of any fossil fuel within net zero pledges from 1,525 companies, cities, regions and countries.

Of the 152 countries with net zero targets, only 25 have "at least one phase-out commitment" related to fossil fuels, the report found. Of oil and gas producing countries, 6pc have committed to an oil exploration phase-out and 5pc to the same for gas.

Energy watchdog the IEA has said there should be no new oil or gas fields, if climate goals under the Paris Agreement are to be reached. The Paris accord seeks to limit global warming "well below" 2°C, and preferably to 1.5°C.

For coal producing nations, 15 out of 111 assessed have set "full or partial" pledges to phase out coal exploration, Net Zero Tracker found. Parties agreed at Cop 26 in 2021 to "phase down unabated coal power", though there was no timeframe set. Japan's prime minister Fumio Kishida told Cop 28 last week that his country will stop building new unabated coal-fired power plants.

Phasing out — or phasing down — fossil fuels is a key topic at Cop 28. Pressure has mounted on parties to agree at Cop 28 on language around the need to reduce output of and demand for fossil fuels. This year's Cop is the first time that a Cop presidency "actively calls on parties to come forward with a language on all fossil fuels in the negotiated text", the conference's president Sultan al-Jaber said today.

Net Zero Tracker includes UK non-profit the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, US-based research group Data-Driven Lab, the Oxford University-hosted net zero platform and research group NewClimate Institute.


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