Claims by oil and gas companies that they are curbing their carbon emissions in line with net zero targets are overstated, according to a new review. Going net zero means removing as many emissions as are produced.
The independent analysis of six large European corporations say none of the companies are yet aligned with the 1.5C temperature goal.
Scientists argue that the global temperature must not rise by more than 1.5C by the end of the century if the world is to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
The research has been carried out by the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), an investor-led group which investigates how companies are preparing for the move to a low-carbon economy.
Despite Shell's stated commitment to having a net-zero energy business by 2050, TPI says that "the claim that it will be aligned with a 1.5C climate scenario is not consistent with our analysis."
According to the authors, a genuine net zero strategy for the average European oil and gas company would require 100% emissions cuts between now and 2050. TPI point out that all of the plans they have assessed are, to some degree, dependent on carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology and nature-based solutions such as planting trees.
"There are very significant assumptions that need further probing," said Adam Matthews.
None of the dozens of American fossil fuel corporations have public disclosures on climate change comparable to Europe, which TPI says is a concern.
"We simply don't know what their intentions are on this issue..." said Adam Matthews, co-chair of TPI.