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How ‘Net-Zero’ Targets Disguise Climate Inaction

Japan is doing it. China is doing it. Shell Oil is even doing it. They are all promising to be carbon neutral or net-zero by 2050 (China says 2060, and promises “Peak Carbon” by 2030). But what are they actually promising and what are they actually going to do? According to a new briefing from six climate justice organizations, cleverly titled “NOT ZERO: How “net zero’ targets disguise climate inaction,” the answer is not much.

The report find that far from signifying climate ambition, the phrase “net-zero” is being used by a majority of polluting governments and corporations to evade responsibility, shift burdens, disguise climate inaction, and in some cases even to scale up fossil fuel extraction, burning and emissions. The term is used to greenwash business-as-usual or even business-more-than-usual. At the core of these pledges are small and distant targets that require no action for decades, and promises of technologies that are unlikely ever to work at scale, and which are likely to cause huge harm if they come to pass.

Rachel Ross Jackson, director of climate research and policy for Corporate Accountability, one of the six climate organizations (shown above) involved in the briefing, tells Treehugger that her group has been “challenging trans-national corporations for forty years.” Read more…