Net Zero: “Ambitions Tend To Remain Undisturbed By Realities”

Having ambitions are great, right? Making pledges is great, right? But, what if you don’t work to get them done? You might even have a plan, but, you don’t follow through to implement it, and said plan might not work correctly. And, if you’re a company, or government, you’re more concerned with looking good than actually doing something

The problem with zero carbon pledges

“Ambitions tend to remain undisturbed by realities.”

It was an observation first made in a work of science fiction by the author Frank Herbert 44 years ago. But it is arguably now borne out in works of science fact, by the corporate thought leaders of today. “Ambitions” to combat climate change, by reducing carbon emissions, are expressed in almost every company press release and annual report. On closer reading, though, some appear a lot more real than others.

For the wealth managers charged with ensuring clients’ shareholdings are aligned with their environmental principles, that is a problem.

Investors in HSBC, for example, were recently told of its “net-zero ambition” on carbon emissions. An announcement from the Asia-focused bank said it would reduce “financed emissions from our portfolio of customers” in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. It used the word “ambition” or “ambitious” no fewer than five times.

However, climate campaigners said the reality was somewhat less inspiring, as HSBC gave no firm timeline for reducing its financing of coal, oil and gas projects before 2050.

“This is zero ambition, not ‘Net-Zero Ambition’,” retorted activist group Market Forces. Fund Our Future UK, a network of campaign groups, suggested it was “like saying you’ll give up smoking by 2050, but continuing to buy a pack a week, or even smoking more”.

The thing is, I’d bet that most investors care more about good rates of return rather than climavirtue signaling. They want investment companies who do their job, not be climate cultists. Investors will just take their business elsewhere. Hence why most companies are talking about Doing Something, but, not actually doing something.

And this boils down to the companies people invest in, like Microsoft, Nike, AT&T, and others, as mentioned later in the article, who mostly have ambitions for the future.

Computer hardware maker Logitech, pharma group Novartis and outerwear co-operative Recreational Equipment also provide the right answers to Whitman’s three questions on how they will reach their net-zero ambitions.

It’s all well and good, but, it’s a pipe dream, because they still need to ship their products using fossil fuels. Once one starts climavirtue signaling, one cannot stop.

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One Response to “Net Zero: “Ambitions Tend To Remain Undisturbed By Realities””

  1. KYE says:

    When the goal is unreasonable the project will fail. I think that’s some business axiom I once heard. Set reasonable goals and you can make smaller albeit actual progress.

    That goes back to the actual problem. The CoC is not a climate plan it’s a terror campaign aimed at and believed by the weak of mind to undercut capitalism and democracy worldwide and replace them with socialist fascism. That’s why the impossibility of “the plan” has no bearing on reality. That’s why they have never made an accurate prognostication. It’s fake fear not science.

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