Crescent Kashmir

UN chief calls upon firms to end ‘toxic cover-up’

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SHARM EL SHEIKH (Egypt): The United Nations chief called on Tuesday for an end to a “toxic cover-up” by companies as a sweeping report said they cannot claim to be net zero if they invest in new fossil fuels, cause deforestation or offset emissions instead of reducing them.

In his address to the COP27 climate summit at the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm El Sheikh, Antonio Guterres said businesses, as well as cities and regions, should update their voluntary net zero pledges within a year to comply with recommendations by UN experts, as he trained his sights on fossil fuel firms and “their financial enablers”.

“Using bogus `net-zero’ pledges to cover up massive fossil fuel expansion is reprehensible. It is rank deception,” he said at the launch of the report at the conference.

“This toxic cover-up could push our world over the climate cliff. The sham must end.”

The UN expert panel, convened by Guterres after climate talks in Glasgow last year, set its sights on drawing a “red line” around greenwashing in net zero targets from companies, cities and regions.

A huge surge in decarbonisation pledges in recent months means that around 90 percent of the global economy is now covered by some sort of promise of carbon neutrality, according to Net Zero Tracker.

The report lists a slew of recommendations, including calling on governments to begin putting in place binding regulations.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2022


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