How to have a Net Zero target whilst causing as much carbon pollution as possible

I was on a call for Carbon Tracker webinar call about a coming report, and a the subject of the most damaging way to do Net Zero came up.

One speaker mentioned a a scenario that really stuck with me – he outlined a way you lets you say you have a Net zero target with a straight face, while changing nothing about your org.

You could keep growing as much as possible, without worrying about the environmental impact of your organisation at all, then on something like 31st December 2029 (or 2039), you would:

  1. sell all your assets to organisations without any Net zero targets of their own
  2. pay out all the cash in the company to shareholders
  3. dissolve the company from the relevant company registers for where your organisation exists

You could do this, and still publicly say you have a Net zero target.

It was used to explain the importance of having a credible path that’s inline what the science says about staying within 1.5 or even 2 degrees celcius warming, but it now has me wondering whether there’s a “hall of shame” for the most egregious claims made by organisations and their plans on climate.

It ocurred to me as a halfway useful to check climate legislation against in future – if you can do this, and still be inside the law, the law is probably broken.