Despite 16 of 21 major European coal-burning utilities analyzed in the report pledging to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, the report shows that none of them plan to meet all of the required scientific benchmarks set out by the IEA to reach this target. Less than half plan to deliver on the required coal exit benchmarks, while all intend to operate fossil gas power plants in the EU and OECD beyond 2035. Collectively, their plans also fall short of the required six-fold growth in solar and wind.
Financial institutions associated with these companies have an obligation not to allow them to hide behind their net-zero pledges and should demand separate targets for the phasing out of coal and fossil gas, and the deployment of wind and solar, in line with climate science. Anything less constitutes complicity in policies that would see the world miss out on the chance to limit the increase in global temperatures to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, and reach net zero by 2050.
If the current European energy crisis tells us anything, it’s that until all fossil fuels are eradicated from Europe's energy supply and replaced with fossil-free, renewable sources of energy, the continent will remain vulnerable to energy price and supply volatility. To protect people, nature, and our global climate, and deliver the just transformation required to meet the continent’s climate commitments, utilities must be compelled by responsible financial institutions to break with coal and fossil gas at a time frame consistent with the IEA’s net-zero roadmap and increase the speed and scale of their investments in wind and solar power.