This annual report offers a comprehensive review of net-zero commitments made by all nations, states, and regions in the top 25 emitting countries, cities with 500,000+ people, and the largest 2000 publicly-listed companies around the globe. This report, the third released by the Net Zero Tracker since its inception in 2020, builds off of the work of the previous reports, in evaluating both the quantity and robustness of net-zero commitments.
The Report & Key Findings
The number of net-zero commitments is increasing. Of the over 4,000 entities tracked, at least 1,475 now have a net zero target, up from 769 in December 2020.
There is little improvement, however, in the progress being made towards these targets, indicated by the fact that there is no significant change in the number of subnational or corporate actors meeting all of the Race to Zero ‘Starting Line’ minimum procedural requirements, which commits entities to the 4 Ps – Pledge, Plan, Proceed, and Publish . This finding could signal that many companies and subnational actors are setting net-zero goals as a marketing or greenwashing strategy rather than a good-faith effort to truly transition their operations to eliminate emissions as much as possible.
More key findings for the report include:
- National and subnational net-zero target momentum has slowed, but company net-zero target-setting momentum continues at speed.
- The number of large publicly-listed companies with net-zero targets has increased 123% in a little over two years, from 417 to 929.
- National government net-zero targets underpinned by legislation or policy documents increased from 7% to 75% in the past two-and-half years.
- A significant share of subnational and corporate entities still lack any emission reduction target whatsoever, at the global level and within the G7.
- Collectively, there is no significant improvement in the robustness of subnational and corporate net zero targets and strategies.
- 25% of companies plan to use carbon dioxide removals (CDR) in their value chain.
- Although net-zero pledges are commonly set by the fossil fuel sector, no major producer countries or companies have committed to phasing out fossil fuels.
- Emerging voluntary net zero standards have strongly converged on principles, but more specificity is required to give clarity to those wanting to set credible strategies.
As the report analysis puts it, in summary, “we need more entities to sign up to net zero, and need those that have pledged to step up.”
In the News
The report garnered attention from major media outlets across the globe, including the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and Fox Business, among others. As it made its rounds in major news media, the report also picked up traction on social media platforms, getting engagement from climate influencers like activist Greta Thunberg and scientist Michael Mann, who said “the only viable way for a fossil fuel company to achieve net zero is to go under.”
“The number of fossil fuel companies setting net-zero emissions targets has risen sharply over the past year, but most fail to address key concerns, making them “largely meaningless”, a report showed on Monday.”https://t.co/M7WPl4WrHU
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) June 12, 2023
All told, the report has received well over five million views, an audience exceeding 400 million people, and more than 5,000 shares on social media. While we still have substantial ground to cover to reach net zero, significant media coverage suggests that the public interest in net zero and climate commitments is growing; and, more public eyes on this issue could continue to push companies and subnationals to adopt more ambitious and credible plans. Links to some of the media coverage related to the Net Zero Tracker’s latest report can be found on our ‘In the News’ page.
The Net Zero Tracker is a collaboration between four organizations: DDL, the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), NewClimate Institute, and Oxford Net Zero. Together, they form the Net Zero Tracker, a group whose goal is to collect and analyze data on net-zero targets and various factors that indicate the integrity of those targets.
Stay tuned for future updates and reports on the Net Zero Tracker.