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Lawmakers warn of major corporations' failure to deliver on promises: 'There is a massive credibility gap'

"We need more regulation. Otherwise, the dial just will not turn."

"We need more regulation. Otherwise, the dial just will not turn."

Photo Credit: iStock

Since the 2015 Paris Agreement, in which world leaders agreed to limit carbon air pollution to try to cool down the planet, companies worldwide have enjoyed positive press for pledges to reduce their pollution. However, those promises aren't enforced by any governing body. 

Now, many companies are backing out, the Washington Post reports

What's happening?

Leading insurance organization AIG is under Senate investigation for failing to make good on its climate promises, the Post reveals. Many polluting activities, such as oil drilling and coal mining, can't proceed without insurance. For that reason, large insurers have the power to determine which projects move forward. 

Last year, AIG pledged to stop insuring the worst polluters. However, the company has continued to give coal, oil, and gas projects the financial backing they need to operate — and release heat-trapping pollution into the atmosphere. 

"We have seen little evidence so far that the insurance industry is taking meaningful action to align its investment and underwriting decisions with the Paris Agreement," Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said in an email to the Post.

AIG is far from the only company not delivering on its climate promises. Net Zero Tracker follows corporate and government climate pledges, monitoring progress and noting the companies that fail to deliver. Of the 2,000 largest companies in the world, it says half have made a lofty promise to remove as much pollution as they generate, but many have fallen short. For instance, Amazon, Shell Oil, and BP have all backed out of past promises.

Why do these broken promises matter? 

We are already beginning to see major changes thanks to the Earth's rising temperature. Failing crops and frequent natural disasters have the most direct impact on people. These changes also affect plants and animals in the wild, which will likely hurt humanity in the long term. 

The only way to stop the world from heating up and bring its temperature back down is to address our rampant air pollution problem. However, leaving it up to individual companies to decide isn't working. 

John Lang, program lead at Net Zero Tracker, told the Post, "There is a massive credibility gap with these corporate targets. We need more regulation. Otherwise, the dial just will not turn."

What can the world do to get these companies in line?

According to Lang and others, the only way forward is government regulation. Individuals can help with this mission by voting for representatives and policies that will hold companies accountable. You can also financially support responsible companies that engage in eco-friendly efforts; learn more here.

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