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© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: A smoke rises from a factory during sunset in Rugby (Britain), February 10, 2021. REUTERS/Matthew Childs/

Tommy Wilkes, Simon Jessop

LONDON (Reuters – An U.N. supported campaign for faster climate action laid out a stricter set of minimum standards on Wednesday to help the increasing number of businesses that want to pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It is important to note that the updated criteria released by the Race to Zero’ campaign are key as they will be included in obligations of partners organisations who marshal climate efforts from various sectors like banks, insurers, and asset managers.

After consultation with more than 200 experts, the new rules will be applicable to many large companies around the globe that have signed such initiatives or publicly pledged to zero emissions.

The rules require all members to phase down all fossil fuels and phase them out in an order that guarantees a “Just Transition”, where there are no negative social consequences.

In practice, it means that investors and corporations must limit the financing of fossil fuel assets. It does not include new coal projects. The exact timelines and pathways will vary between regions and industries.

The first-ever requirement for members to support and align climate policies at sub-national, national, and international levels in line with Race to Zero would be also implemented.

All new members will be subject to the updated rules starting June 15th. Existing members have one year to conform to these revised rules.

“The clarity these criteria provide, together with strengthened data transparency, will help us identify the progress made and gaps remaining,” Nigel Topping and Mahmoud Mohieldin, High-level Climate Champions for the COP26 & COP27 climate talks, said in a joint statement.

They will show actors who really are moving forward and those trying to find loopholes.

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