World’s largest corporations stall local weather motion regardless of guarantees • Watts Up With That?
From NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
By Paul Homewood
Cutting emissions is proving harder than committing to cut emissions
Climate progress at big companies is hitting a wall.
The world’s largest companies have committed to slashing their emissions to address climate change. Many of them have overpromised and underdelivered because of higher costs, slow advances in technology and political pressure.
One big factor is a lack of trust in voluntary carbon markets. Many companies had intended to use carbon credits to offset emissions that are hard to reduce, such as the burning of jet fuel by airlines.
Those credits were supposed to cover short-term commitments. Companies are now backing off of these goals while maintaining they are committed to long-term targets. It is a sobering conclusion two years after the 2021 United Nations climate summit in Glasgow jump-started several climate initiatives.
Mining giant Rio Tinto can’t hit a near-term emissions target without using carbon offsets. Delta Air Lines and other carriers are under similar pressure. Shell and BP dialled back green-investment plans under pressure from investors. Amazon.com recently shelved a target to slash delivery emissions by 2030.
“Many companies are learning that the beginning of decarbonization is easy,” said Günther Thallinger, a board member at insurer Allianz who chairs a U.N. climate-focused investor group. “The moment you really need to go into true transformation, the work becomes quite difficult.”
This was always highly predictable!
Companies jumped on the bandwagon at the outset, partly out of the desire to virtue signal and partly due to pressure from environmentalist shareholders. But it was always obvious that there was little they could do to substantially cut emissions, without massively expense and disruption. Even then they would still remain stuck with the energy supplied to them by the State.
Rio Tinto, for example, still needs mining equipment, earth movers and shipping, which all run on fossil fuels.
Carbon offsets were an easy, relatively inexpensive way to show immediate “emission savings”. But increasingly it is evident that most offsets actually do not cut emissions at all.
I suspect that many companies and investors are growing tired of spending money for no good reason at all.