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The Retreat from Net Zero - Highlighted Article

Posted On:
Mar 7, 2024 at 6:00 AM
Energy Policy, Climate Change


From: Net Zero Watch

By: Ross Clark

Date: February 8, 2024

The Retreat from Net Zero



The UN meetings on climate change have become renowned for their platitudes, with national leaders falling over each other to say what desparate straits the world is in, how we must decarbonise ever faster – before returning to their home countries and putting economic development well ahead of their promises to cut emissions. But the president of COP28 in Dubai in December 2023, Sultan Al Jaber, was unusually frank. Al Jaber, who also serves as the chair of Abu Dhabi state oil corporation, ADNOC, which recently announced a $150 billion investment to increase oil production by nearly 50 percent to 5 million barrels a day by 2027, appealed to former Irish President Mary Robinson: ‘show me a road map for the phase out of fossil fuel that allows for social, sustainable development…unless you want to take the world back into caves’.

Al Jaber was eviscerated for his comments, yet they were in tune with a silent majority. An analysis by the website Zero Tracker reveals that even countries with net zero targets are heavily resisting pressure to phase out exploration for and development of fossil fuel resources. There are 93 oil-producing countries that have net zero targets, but only six of them have plans to phase out oil. Only five out of 94 gas-producing countries with a net zero target have plans to phase out gas. As for coal-producing countries, only 65 of those with net zero targets have plans to stop production.

As always with COP meetings, the event ended with a communiqué promising that the world would try to ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels – which is a long way from agreeing to phase them out by a certain date, as many activists demanded. After two weeks and several hundred thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide spewed out by private jets and the like, the 98,000 delegates who had signed up for COP28 had come up with nothing more than an empty promise.

In fact, the list of countries with plans to phase out fossil fuels is showing few signs of growing. The new government in New Zealand has just reneged on the previous administration‘s pledge to do so. In Germany, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck recently announced that he may delay the country’s planned phase-out of coal by 2030 because of the energy crisis provoked by the invasion of Ukraine.(continue reading)


The Retreat from Net Zero