What is the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)?

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What is the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)? Blog Image


A contentious recent decision by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), permitting carbon offsetting for Scope 3 emissions of businesses with SBTi-based climate targets, has stirred controversy and skepticism.

About Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)

  • SBTi is a global initiative established in 2015 that aims to encourage and supportcompaniesto set science-based targets (SBTs) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
  • The SBTi is a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
  • The SBTi provides a framework and guidelines for companies to set targets that are in line with the latest climate science, including the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • This involves setting targets that are consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, which is the more ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.
  • Companiescan have their targets independently verifiedandapproved by the SBTi, which helps to ensure that they are aligned with the latest science and are in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • By setting science-based targets, companies can demonstrate their commitment to addressing climate change and reducing their carbon footprint.
  • The SBTi distinguishes between near- and long-term goals and commitments.
    • Near-term targets show how organizations intend to reduce emissions over the next 5-10 years, crucial for significant progress by 2030 and a prerequisite for net zero targets. 
    • Long-term targets indicate how organizations need to reduce their emissions to achieve net zero, according to the criteria of the SBTi Corporate Net-Zero Standard, by 2050 at the latest (2040 for the energy sector).
  • SBTi oversees the SBTi Net-Zero Standard, a pioneering framework for corporate net-zero target establishment.
    • It is the world’s only framework for corporate net-zero target setting in line with climate science.
    • It provides the guidance and tools companies need to set science-based net-zero targets.

Q1: What are greenhouse gases?

Greenhouse gases (also known as GHGs) are gases in the earth’s atmosphere that trap heat.Carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapour are the most important greenhouse gases.

Source: Carbon Controversy: Corporate climate action watchdog’s new decision regarding use of offsetting causes backlash