DUBAI: Most countries which have committed to a target of net-zero carbon emissions have not announced any plans to phase out fossil fuels, putting those pledges at risk of being little more than a “bumper sticker,” a climate monitor warned Monday. A new report from the group Net Zero Tracker was released amid contentious negotiations at the COP28 climate talks in Dubai about whether nations will agree to “phase down” or “phase out” planet-heating fossil fuels.
Some 150 countries have committed to a net-zero emissions target of some kind, covering 88 percent of all human-driven greenhouse gases emitted worldwide, the report said.
Yet only 13 percent of those countries have made at least one commitment to phase out the use, production or exploration of coal, oil and gas, said the platform, which is run by several research centers including Britain’s Oxford University. Natasha Lutz, the group’s co-data lead, suggested that the proliferation of net-zero pledges could amount to little if they are not matched by phase-out plans.
“A pledge without a plan for implementation is at risk of becoming a bumper-sticker; broadcasted but never taken seriously,” she said. The report was released a day after it was revealed that Sultan Al-Jaber—who is both the UAE’s COP28 president and the head of state oil giant ADNOC—said there was “no science” to show that phasing out fossils fuels would achieve the world’s climate goals.
Jaber also said that removing fossil fuels would take the world “back into caves,” according to a video published by The Guardian. The Net Zero Tracker analysis looked at more than 1,500 nations, regions, cities and large companies who have committed to any kind of net-zero target, analysing how serious they are about achieving the goal. Around 95 percent of countries that produce oil and gas have not pledged to phase out exploration, the analysis found. It was more positive when it came to companies, finding that 56 percent of firms working in coal production had at least partially committed to phasing out the particularly dirty fuel.
African and European companies were relatively well represented in the phase-out plans, while US firms lagged far behind. The report also praised Spain for including phase-out plans in legislation, Swedish capital Stockholm for its emissions reductions targets and Danish energy company Orsted for divesting from fossil fuels. —AFP