• Southern Company updates climate goal to net-zero by 2050, has already reduced emissions by 44% from 2007

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Southern Company has become the latest US utility to commit to a goal of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, joining the ranks of Duke Energy, Xcel Energy, Dominion Energy and others. (It is unclear from Southern’s statement if this is CO2-equivalent emissions or not, but that is the generally understood meaning of the term at present.) The company has also reaffirmed its goal of reducing emissions from 2007 levels by 50% by 2030, a target it now expects to achieve as early as 2025, already being at 44%. The rising availability of cheap natural gas has been the primary cause of its success to date, but to achieve the net-zero goal of 2050 will be more challenging, and a report on how Southern will achieve it will be issued later this year. The new goal is an update on the 2018 announcement of a low-to-no carbon target for 2050, and is a reflection of the speed at which utilities are prioritising climate target setting.