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Selling Net-zero Pipe Dreams – Fossil Fuels Cannot Be Carbon Neutral, New Investigation Shows

A growing number of oil and gas companies are selling fossil fuels they market as “carbon neutral”. A Carbon Market Watch investigation has thoroughly investigated these claims and concluded that they amount to brazen greenwashing. Due out ahead of the COP26, the report challenges governments and industry to commit to binding fossil fuel phaseouts.

On 25 October 2021, Carbon Market Watch will release a new investigation titled ‘Net-zero pipe dreams: Why fossil fuels cannot be carbon neutral’. The report explores a new trend in which fossil fuel companies have been marketing gas and oil shipments as “carbon neutral”, sometimes even selling them at a premium.

How can carbon-intensive fossil fuels be made carbon neutral, you may wonder? 
These companies typically say they offset an undisclosed amount of emissions using an undisclosed amount of carbon credits they have purchased from undisclosed projects. Assessing the value and validity of these questionable claims required considerable sleuthing.
The firms involved include such big names as Shell, Total, BP, Gazprom and PetroChina. The so-called carbon-neutral fossil fuels have been dispatched to markets as diverse as the UK, China, Japan, Mexico, India.

But do these supposedly net-zero emission fossil fuels live up to the corporate hype?
Our investigation of 18 such deals shows conclusively that these carbon-neutrality claims are little more than marketing gimmicks and amount to greenwashing.

“Illusory, opaque and baseless claims of ‘carbon-neutral’ fossil fuels overtly defy science and reason,” says Carbon Market Watch’s Jonathan Crook, the lead author of the report. “This is nothing more than a desperate and shameless attempt by oil and gas majors to keep business-as-usual activities and hoodwink the public.”

“At COP 26, governments must keep 1.5°C alive by committing to clear and binding fossil fuel phase-out plans that will nip this kind of greenwashing in the bud,” Crook urges.

The full findings, conclusions and recommendations of ‘Net-zero pipe dreams: Why fossil fuels cannot be carbon neutral’ will be available on Carbon Market Watch’s website on Monday 25 October at midnight.

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