The UN has demanded proof of change not mere hope amidst distrust, nor aspirations mouthed among the cynical.
Per Albert Bates, these standardized requirements are new, obvious, practical
“The new rules announced Tuesday by former Canadian climate minister Catherine McKenna said net zero pledges must be “about cutting emissions, not corners.” I think everyone in the room was as astonished as I was as she read the highlights of the experts’ report:
Zero tolerance for further fossil investment
Zero tolerance for deforestation
Zero tolerance for lobbying against climate action
Zero tolerance for junk offsets
Annual reporting on progress of actual, not purchased, reductions.
“If fossil fuel companies think that they can expand production under a net zero target, they need to think again.”
— Bill Hare, climate scientist on the UN High-Level Expert Group
The Secretary General took to the podium and affirmed the importance of the report, saying, “the problem is that the criteria and benchmarks for these net-zero commitments have varying levels of rigor and loopholes wide enough to drive a diesel truck through.” After pledging to provide transparency by putting all pledge reporting data on the UN’s Global Climate Action Portal, he offered his own bullet list:
Net-zero pledges must be in line with IPCC scenarios limiting warming to 1.5 degrees.
That means global emissions must decline by at least 45 per cent by 2030 – and reach net zero by 2050.
Pledges should have interim targets every five years starting in 2025.
And these targets must cover all greenhouse gas emissions and all scopes of emissions.
For financial institutions, this means all financed activities; all scopes.
For businesses, it means all emissions — direct, indirect and those originating from supply chains; all scopes.
And for cities and regions, it means all territorial emissions.
The message is clear to all those managing existing voluntary initiatives – as well as CEOs, mayors, governors committing to net-zero:
Abide by this standard and update your guidelines right away – and certainly no later than COP28.”