Earth911 Podcast: The World Benchmarking Alliance Reports on Energy Producers’ Carbon Footprint

The World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) monitors the sustainability and environmental responsibility performance of the world’s largest countries. Charlotte Hugman, a researcher for the climate and energy programs at WBA shares the results of the organization’s July 2020 Electric Utilities Benchmark of the 50 largest electric producers in the world, including the top 10 U.S. utilities.

The report is the first update of a regular review of energy producers’ progress toward the U.N. Paris Agreement 2030 targets necessary to prevent disastrous climate change. Unfortunately, they found that seven of the 10 U.S. companies reviewed will actually fall backward in their decarbonization performance in the near-term. Among EU electricity producers, half will see short-term declines in performance. In fact, 35 of the 50 global companies studied will exceed their carbon goals during the next few years. The time for change is running out.

We discuss the WBA methodology and Hugman suggests that if you are interested in understanding your local utilities’ carbon emissions, you can start by reading the report to learn about the key issues that affect environmental performance. She explains that electricity production is the foundation for a wide range of social and technical changes that will help reduce CO2 emissions. In addition to decarbonization of the energy sector, the WBA identifies financial system innovation, food and agricultural changes, digital transformation, social changes, urban reinvention, and the circular economy as the keystones of a sustainable economy. Each of these pillars relies on low- or zero-carbon electricity, so power must be transitioned to renewable sources for everything else to succeed.

Take a few minutes with Charlotte Hugman to be introduced to the WBA’s comprehensive approach to providing business and government leaders with reliable information about the global economy’s progress toward a net-zero sustainable world. Then, take a few minutes to study your local utility’s carbon footprint. Let’s change the world starting in our own neighborhoods.

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