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New report: European energy companies failing on net-zero commitments

The business plans of European coal companies do not contain the intermediate targets necessary to deliver on their net-zero pledges, according to a new report published today by think tank Ember and the Europe Beyond Coal campaign supported by WWF.

When held up against the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) net-zero by 2050 roadmap, not one of the business plans analysed contained all of the necessary milestones on fossil fuel phase-out and accelerated deployment of renewables to deliver on the mid-century target and limit global warming to 1.5°C. 

Limited Utility: The European energy companies failing on net-zero commitments [1] examines the plans of 21 Europe-based coal utilities, 16 of which have pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. It finds that less than half plan to deliver the 2030 coal exit that is needed according to the IEA , and none have plans for a 2035 exit from electricity production from unabated fossil gas [2]. Together, their plans will comfortably quadruple solar and wind power by 2030, but this also falls short of the minimum six-fold growth required globally. 

“Not one European coal utility analysed by this report is making plans to meet all science-based milestones to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees. If Europe is to do its part for climate action and exit coal by 2030, and have a fossil-free, renewables-based power system by 2035, these companies need to show near-term plans to close coal and fossil gas plants, and massively scale up the build-out of wind and solar power generation. All the talk of mid-century targets is just fluff so long as their business plans have no way of delivering on them,” said Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal campaign director. 

“Each of these companies knows very well what is required of them to deliver on their net-zero pledges, so the gaping hole between their so-called ‘ambition’ and what they actually intend to deliver is very revealing. It’s time to draw a line in the sand: if companies do not align their business plans with the intermediate milestones required to deliver on their net-zero pledges, financial institutions providing them with support must intervene,” said Kaarina Kolle, lead author.   

Limited Utility: The European energy companies failing on net zero commitments, published by Europe Beyond Coal and its partners Ember, WWF, Greenpeace, Anthropocene Fixed Income Institute (AFII), Reclaim Finance, Urgewald, Friends of the Earth Finland, Amis de la Terre, FUNDACJA
  1. "ROZWÓJ TAK - ODKRYWKI NIE”, Re:Common and ShareAction: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1POfB_xx3JF7XXEwSitiwDpxAKihnH9uV/view?usp=sharing
  2. According to the International Energy Agency’s net zero emissions report, all unabated coal plants must be phased out by 2030 in advanced economies, and by 2040 in the rest of the world. Advanced economies must reach overall net‐zero emission electricity by 2035, and the rest of the world must reach net‐zero emission electricity by 2040. In 2030, 60% of total global electricity generation should come from renewables, which requires at least a six-fold growth in solar and wind between 2020 and 2030.
  3. IEA report: Net Zero by 2050, A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector: https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050



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