Greenwashing is a “rising threat” that could undo progress on tackling the climate crisis, former US vice president Al Gore has warned.
The renowned environmentalist, who served as vice president under Bill Clinton, warned of a “yawning gap” between long-term climate change goals and near-term action plans.
He said large emitters must “increase their climate ambitions with renewed credibility and urgency”.
“Likewise, developing countries urgently need substantial support on vaccine access, climate finance and debt relief,” he said.
“A lack of progress on these fronts risks undermining progress in tackling the climate crisis and in facilitating a just and equitable recovery. We must be vigilant of the rising threat of greenwashing or risk derailing hard-won progress.”
Mr Gore’s comments mark the publication of an annual sustainability trends report from Generation Investment Management, a sustainable investment management firm of which he is chair.
The annual report draws on more than 200 sources and identifies key tipping points in the shift to sustainability – from helping net zero targets go mainstream, to action on diversity, equity and inclusion, and the rise of clean technologies and natural solutions.
But it also warns of the mounting threat of greenwash, which it says poses a significant and increasing risk to the success of a sustainable economic transition.
The analysis highlights what it calls a “growing unease” at the “low quality of some net zero commitments, the gap between goals and actions and the absence of guardrails for those utilising natural solutions, including as offsets”.
According to the study, consumers are faced with “confusing and often misleading claims about sustainability benefits” and the time for celebrating “vague, distant goals on net zero” had “long passed”.
Mr Gore called this “the most crucial decade of climate action” in our lifetime and said the report pointed to strong progress in many areas.
“Our challenge, however, remains vast and urgent,” he said.
“As the world works to contain and recover from the pandemic, we must harness the momentum of the global sustainability revolution to ensure that we do not fall back into our old patterns, but instead usher in a just and sustainable future.”
Sky News has launched the first daily prime time news show dedicated to climate change.
The Daily Climate Show is broadcast at 6.30pm and 9.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.
Hosted by Anna Jones, it follows Sky News correspondents as they investigate how global warming is changing our landscape and how we all live our lives.
The show also highlights solutions to the crisis and how small changes can make a big difference.