Nov 14, 2019

Net-zero carbon pledges are still rare among energy companies

Despite some splashy pledges, the energy industry overall is just at the early stages of adopting "net-zero" carbon emissions plans, a new report shows.

Why it matters: Achieving global net-zero emissions by mid-century is a widely cited target in a steep uphill battle to meet the Paris agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5 °C.

What they found: Analysts with the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Oxford examined disclosures from 132 big and publicly traded coal, electricity and oil-and-gas companies.

  • Just 13 of them have made a net-zero pledge of some sort, with 2050 the most common target but some with earlier goals.

Where it stands: "Some commitments cover all, or at least the majority, of a company’s lifecycle carbon emissions, others cover a small share," finds the report that's also from a group called the Transition Pathway Initiative.

  • "Fossil fuel extraction companies that have set net zero commitments have mostly limited the scope of these to their own operational emissions, rather than downstream emissions from burning fossil fuels," it adds.
  • The 13 companies include Xcel Energy, Eni, Orsted, BHP Billiton, EDF, Exxaro Resources and others.

But, but, but: The analysis captures commitments made through mid-August, and there have been some since that period, such as from companies like Duke Energy and DTE Energy.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The state of U.S. energy-related carbon emissions

Data: U.S. Energy Information Administration; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. carbon emissions from energy rose by 2.7% last year, ending several years of declines, federal Energy Information Administration data confirms.

Why it matters: While emissions have been in a generally downward trend for well over a decade, the report late last week shows how the U.S. is off track to meet its pledges under the Paris climate deal.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

A half-empty glass on emissions

Data: Global Carbon Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

A major new report on global carbon dioxide emissions growth is largely bad news, but if you squint you can find some (rather small) bright spots.

Driving the news: The rate of increase decelerated this year as coal consumption dipped and economic growth slowed, but emissions still hit a record high, per new data from a research consortium called the Global Carbon Project.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

Why clean energy isn’t enough to tackle climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Forget renewable energy for a moment. To really fight climate change, the world needs to focus far more on cutting its use of oil, natural gas and coal.

The big picture: Like adding salad to your pasta doesn’t help you lose weight, adding cleaner energy to a world run on fossil fuels won’t cut greenhouse gas emissions. Yet that’s what we’re doing now.

Go deeperArrowDec 2, 2019