16 August 2021

Central bankers' “net zero 2050” scenarios fail on risk basics

Today Breakthrough launches our new report Degrees of Risk, which looks at how financial regulators are underestimating systemic risks and may repeat the mistakes of the Global Financial Crisis. This extract examines the “net zero 2050” (NZ2050) scenarios produced by the central bankers' Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) and finds they are not adequately addressing the real risks and uncertainties of climate change.

by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop

What does “Net zero 2050” (NZ2050) really mean? It is a critical question.

A number of institutions, including the IPCC, the International Energy Agency and the NGFS have produced NZ2050 scenarios, which will substantially influence national climate policy commitments made in the lead up to the climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021. Those scenarios and the models and assumptions underlying them will frame the outcome, as happened in 2015. 

The Paris Agreement was lauded for its 1.5°C target, but had an underlying framework of target overshoot and a large role for currently non-viable technologies such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), backed by a good dose of scientific reticence about the state of the climate system and its tipping points.

05 August 2021

Net zero target for 2050 is too slow, and a strategy for climate failure

by Michael Mazengarb & Giles Parkinson, first published by RenewEconomy

A major new research paper argues that setting “net zero by 2050” targets will fail to prompt urgent action on climate change, and won’t achieve the speed of emission reductions needed to avoid the worsening impacts of global warming.

The paper, released by the Australian-based Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, says shorter-term emission reduction targets are needed to compel action to cut fossil fuel use, including setting a more ambitious target to reach zero emissions as early as 2030.

“[Net zero by 2050] scenarios are based on models and carbon budgets generally associated with a 50 or 66 per cent chance of staying below the target, that is, a one-in-two, or one-in-three, chance of failure,” the paper says. “We would never accept those risks of failures in our own lives. Why accept them for impacts which may destroy civilisation as we know it?”

04 August 2021

Warnings signs as global oil and gas giants adopt “Net zero 2050” climate goal

 by David Spratt

DOWNLOAD Briefing Paper: Net zero 2050 is a dangerous illusion
“Net zero 2050” is the big story in climate politics this year, leading up to the global policymaking festival, the 26th Conference of the Parties, in Glasgow this year from 1–12 November. The question is whether it is a good story.

That’s the subject of a new Briefing Note, just released by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, and available here.

Net zero pledges are everywhere. The goal of  “Net zero 2050” (NZ2050) greenhouse gas emissions is centre stage leading up to  Glasgow.  A majority of nations support the goal, as do many global corporations including fossil fuel producers such as Shell, BP and Exxon, investors and, in Australia, the major business lobby groups.