Global oil companies have committed to 'net zero' emissions. It's a sham

(The Guardian, 5 Mar 2021) The energy industry is like a smoker who goes from one pack a day to two – but claims they’re quitting because they switched to filtered cigarettes.

The United Nations campaign Race to Zero recently published a paper identifying 20 pathways to reach net zero carbon emissions. In December, the British Oil & Gas Authority published a requirement that oil and gas development be “consistent with net zero” (despite approval of new offshore permits). BP, Shell and other multinational companies have all now published their “net zero” pathways.

The world finally seems to be aligning around the idea that to have a stable and safe planet we need to reach net zero emissions. That’s fantastic, and overdue. What’s less fantastic is that many companies and countries are using “net zero” to justify expanding the production of fossil fuels. This is something people living near fossil fuel infrastructure – and our global climate – simply can’t afford.

Take Canadian oil giant Enbridge, for example. In November, it committed to a target of “net zero” emissions. In spite of that commitment, the company has pushed forward with blasting and bulldozing a new tar-sands pipeline through sensitive waterways and Indigenous lands. The Line 3 pipeline is heavily opposed by local community water protectors and Indigenous leaders, many of whom have been arrested in the past month for blockading the project. The pipeline, if completed, would have the impact of opening 50 new coal-fired power plants or adding 38m new gasoline vehicles to our roads.

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The Guardian, 5 Mar 2021: Global oil companies have committed to 'net zero' emissions. It's a sham