Two buzzwords feature in virtually every event, interview, news release, bit of commentary and protest at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow: “net-zero” and “greenwashing.” The more you hear about the former, the more you hear about the latter. There seems to be a direct correlation between the two.
“Net-zero” refers to the commitments made by most countries, and many big companies, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. “Greenwashing” refers to any efforts by countries and companies to exaggerate their environmental credentials – the greener-than-thou approach.
At COP26, which began on Sunday, both terms have been used with abandon. Greta Thunberg dismissed the entire event as the “Global North greenwash festival.”
Greenpeace accused Australia of “greenwashing” after determining that three-quarters of the Pacific-region aid projects promoted by Canberra as “significantly focused” on climate adaptation did not even mention “climate.”