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COP27 Day 2 - Greenwashing Warnings

Photo credit: UNFCCC 2022

The United Nations (UN) urged a crackdown on ‘greenwashing’ on day two of COP27.

The UN’s “high-level expert group”, set up to advise on rules to improve integrity and transparency in net zero commitments by industry, regions and cities, set out a series of “red lines” to prevent “dishonest climate accounting”. The UN stressed that companies pledging to reach net zero emissions should no longer be taken seriously if they keep investing in new fossil fuel supply, stating, “net zero is entirely incompatible with continued investment in fossil fuels”.

This will be of particular interest to organisations as they establish net zero targets and strategies to achieve them. This will also be of interest to investment companies as they consider their portfolios or new buying opportunities.

The UN also said companies trying to eliminate their emissions could no longer buy cheap carbon offsets or fail to count all their emissions – using the example of an oil rig counting emissions from rigs but not from their customers using petrol to fuel their cars. They also warned against lobbying Governments to undermine ambitious government climate policies.

It is likely that Governments will come under growing pressure to mandate universal standards, so organisations should prioritise their climate action strategies if they haven’t already.

Another important development yesterday was the announcement of the first comprehensive plan to help the world adapt to climate change. The plans focus is on reducing the impacts of climate change on the 4 billion people living in countries most vulnerable to it.

The plans include adopting climate-resilient agricultural methods such as growing heat-resistant crops, installing early warning systems to alert people to oncoming climate disasters, halving food waste, and investing $4 billion in the restoration of mangrove forests that protect coastlines from flooding. They also include providing electricity access to 679 million people currently without access, and improving water infrastructure to reduce leaks



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