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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Total, the French multinational oil-and-gas giant, said Tuesday it hopes to reach "net zero" emissions by 2050, joining European peers including Shell and BP in setting ambitious mid-century targets.

Why it matters: Total’s plan includes targets for Scope 3 emissions — that is, emissions from use of its products in the economy that comprise by far the largest share of total CO2 linked to the industry.

The big picture: The plan calls for increasing the amounts of climate-friendly energy in its product mix, including a vow to double the share of its capital spending devoted to low-carbon power to 20% by 2030.

Reality check: Plenty of details remain to be filled in when it comes to how exactly these behemoths will meet these long-term goals and even interim targets.

  • The plans also recognize that the goals — especially Scope 3 targets — rely on external forces the companies can influence but don't control.

One level deeper: Shell said when unveiling its plan last month that it would involve working with customers on their emissions-cutting efforts.

  • Total said it's aiming to reach net-zero "together with society." It's vowing to engage in "active" policy advocacy and work with other businesses to decarbonize their energy use.
  • Total also said it wants a "60% or more reduction in the average carbon intensity of energy products used worldwide by Total customers by 2050."

Of note: The plan arrived on the same day that Total posted a 35% decline in Q1 profits compared to the same period a year earlier, as low prices bite. CNBC has more.

Go deeper

Updated 21 mins ago - Economy & Business

2020 was the economy's worst year since 1946

Source: FRED; Billions of chained 2012 dollars; Chart: Axios Visuals

One of the last major economic report cards of the Trump era lends perspective to the historic damage caused by the pandemic, which continued to weigh on growth in the final quarter of 2020.

By the numbers: The U.S. economy grew at a 4% annualized pace in the fourth quarter, a sharp slowdown in growth compared to the prior quarter. For the full year, the economy shrank by 3.5% — the first annual contraction since the financial crisis and the worst decline since 1946.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

How GameStop exposed the market

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Retail traders have found a cheat code for the stock market, and barring some major action from regulatory authorities or a massive turn in their favored companies, they're going to keep using it to score "tendies" and turn Wall Street on its head.

What's happening: The share prices of companies like GameStop are rocketing higher, based largely on the social media organizing of a 3-million strong group of Redditors who are eagerly piling into companies that big hedge funds are short selling, or betting will fall in price.

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