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Big Oil Still Isn’t On Course To Hit Global Climate Goals

Despite Big Oil’s race to commit to net-zero emissions and significantly boost renewables operations, none of the major oil and gas companies have aligned their emissions targets to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) – an initiative of investors with $22 trillion in assets under management – said in new research report on Wednesday.   

TPI has assessed 59 oil, gas, and coal mining companies on carbon emissions performance, but it found that just seven companies, or 12 percent of firms assessed, have set emissions targets in line with the pledges made by national governments as part of the Paris Agreement in 2015. These are the European companies Shell, Total, Eni, Equinor, Repsol, Glencore, and Anglo American, according to the research. 

Still, those pledges “are widely regarded as insufficient to avert dangerous climate change (leaving the world on track for 3.2°C of warming according to UNEP),” TPI said.

Assessing companies’ emissions pathways against the more ambitious benchmark of limiting climate change to 2 degrees Celsius or below, none of the 59 fossil fuel companies were found to be aligned. However, three – Shell, Total, and Eni – are close to a 2°C pathway but still need further measures to be assessed to align with this benchmark, the research found. 

BP, which has recently unveiled an ambitious strategy focusing on renewables, was found not to be aligned with the goals. Earlier this year, BP responded to another TPI assessment, saying it does not see carbon intensity alone as a reliable single measure of progress towards the Paris goals. 

All major European companies have pledged various commitments to become net-zero energy companies and significantly expand their renewable energy, hydrogen, or power market portfolios.

Related: The Secret To Survival For Canada’s Oil Sands

Yet, according to the investors in TPI, all those pledges are not enough. 

“Investors have witnessed a flurry of significant climate announcements by fossil fuel majors this year, so it is striking this independent research still shows those commitments do not yet align with limiting climate change to 2°C,” TPI co-chair Adam Matthews said. 

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“There has been some movement, with seven European companies now aligned with the Paris pledges, and Shell, Total and Eni getting close to meeting the 2°C benchmark. But U.S. fossil fuel giants have yet to take meaningful action to reduce their emissions and the gap with their European peers is stark,” Matthews added. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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