Utility sector most in need of decarbonisation, according to a global initiative


International corporate climate change specialists, the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a collaboration between the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World Resources Institute, says that following the validation of science-based targets for 237 companies, utilities require carbon emission reductions most.

Scope 1 emissions (emissions from company-owned or managed sources), and Scope 2 emissions (greenhouse gases generated from purchased energy and heat), from these companies during 2018 are estimated to amount to 488 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2e), and must be reduced to 350MtCO2e by 2030 to meet their science-based targets.

The SBTi notes utilities will be required to reduce their emissions the most by 2030, with a reduction of 83MtCO2e.

The 11 utilities that have validated science-based targets in place to-date, include Enel and NRG Energy, and interestingly, the SBTi says many utilities were already on a “deep decarbonisation trajectory” prior to setting a science-based target, which has led the initiative to suggest that utility targets are more achievable than in other sectors.

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It said: “We anticipate these companies will have a more difficult time decarbonising, as reducing the scope 1 emissions of these companies will require fundamental shifts in the way they conduct business. These companies also have significant supply chain emissions, which are difficult to manage.”

The oil and gas, chemical, agriculture and banking sectors do not have an emissions reduction framework in place as part of the SBTi.