methane flaring from oil fossil fuel facility climate change

UN climate plan sets tough standards for members to eradicate fossil fuels

Image credit: Dreamstime

A UN-backed campaign designed to boost global climate action has made explicit the requirement for members to phase out all unabated fossil fuels among other measures.

The global Race To Zero campaign currently represents a coalition of 1,049 cities, 67 regions, 5,235 businesses, 441 of the biggest investors, and 1,039 higher education institutions.

The new rules mean corporations and investors must restrict the development, financing, and facilitation of new fossil fuel assets, which includes no new coal projects. The exact pathways and timelines differ across regions and sectors.

It also makes explicit a pre-existing requirement to publicly disclose a Transition Plan within 12 months of joining Race to Zero.

Nigel Topping and Mahmoud Mohieldin, high-level climate champions for COP26 & COP27, said: “The clarity these criteria provide, together with strengthened data transparency, will help us identify the progress made and gaps remaining.

“They will clearly show those actors who are truly moving ahead versus those who are trying to find loopholes. We urge all Race to Zero actors to keep stepping up, or risk being removed from the Race!”

While members of the campaign are required to commit to actions to help lower their carbon output, it also called for stronger standards and economy-wide regulations to drive net zero alignment across the economy.

Dr Thomas Hale, climate action manager at Avina, said: “We now have a much stronger consensus around what makes a company, city, region, or investor’s approach to net zero weak, acceptable, or exemplary. The challenge to them now is to sprint ahead.”

Race to Zero partners will gather next week to discuss strategies for supporting their members to deliver the new criteria. It has already been working with its members to strengthen the integrity of voluntary commitments by regularly assessing its initiatives and setting up an independent compliance mechanism, which will be launched in September, to hold members accountable to their targets.

On Monday, Net Zero Tracker said that many of the world’s largest companies face a “major credibility gap” in their plans to slash their carbon emissions. In an analysis of firms on the Forbes 2000 largest companies list, it found that while more than one third now have net-zero targets, 65 per cent of them do not yet meet minimum procedural reporting standards.

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