‘Three quarters of governments don’t disclose details of net zero pledges’

A new report calls into question the validity of corporate and governmental net zero targets

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More than 75% of governments don’t specify how they look to achieve net zero goals.

That’s the key finding from Net Zero Tracker’s Stocktake report, analysing the net zero aims of more than 1,100 entities – including the EU.

The report claims there is a huge lack of credibility in how most of these targets are set – without any information provided on whether companies and governments will use external offsetting credits to achieve net zero.

Less than 20% of net zero targets set by national and sub-national governments meet the robust standard set by the UN’s Race to Zero campaign, the researchers state.

There is some room for optimism, however, with national net zero targets having risen from covering just 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions in December 2020 to 65% this June.

The report highlights that the issue is not the desire to set new and ambitious goals – but the strength and palpability of these targets.

Close to 65% of corporate net zero targets, set by some of the world’s largest companies, do not meet this minimum robustness standard either – the research alleges.

With these targets, the Stocktake found that 40% intend to use external offsets – but 60% refused to disclose whether they would offset altogether.

Less than 40% of these companies’ targets cover Scope 3 emissions.

Net Zero Tracker also revealed that the number of large cities setting net zero targets has risen to 235 from 115 in December 2020 – but more than 900 are still yet to set goals.

This is due to the fact that net zero is still mainly under consideration in the West, with Asian and African nations far behind implementing these into governmental policy.

The researchers are calling for more transparency and integrity to be given to net zero targets, with a means to measure, report and understand them from higher bodies.

“The UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities, launched in March 2022, provides an important opportunity to accelerate robust operationalisation of net zero targets.

“The panel marks an important step forward – raising the robustness of net zero targets to the highest political level, creating a mechanism to endorse robust principles for net zero alignment, calling out those that are falling short and charting a course toward the more robust standardisation and governance that will ultimately be needed, the report concluded.”