A sixth of global economy now covered by net zero emission targets

Almost one-sixth of the world’s economy is now covered by net zero emission targets, research by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has found.

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The analysis shows that 15 nations have declared their intention to eradicate net greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 or before, with targets covering 16% of global GDP.

Norway and Sweden have set targets in law for 2030 and 2045 respectively, while Bhutan and Suriname already absorb more emissions that they emit into the atmosphere.

The UK, France, Spain and New Zealand have all proposed legislation for 2050, while 13 others are either discussing targets or have published them in policy documents.

“Having a net zero target with a date before mid-century is probably the best single indicator of whether a nation is serious about delivering what it promised at the Paris summit,” ECIU director, Richard Black, said.

“Science shows unequivocally that halting climate change means reducing emissions to net zero, so if a government isn’t planning to, it can’t really claim to be planning to do its share of stopping climate change.”

Norway and Uruguay’s 2030 targets are the most ambitious, followed by Finland’s goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2035, and Sweden’s 2045 ambition.

The UK will shortly become the largest economy in the world to have a target set in law after outgoing prime minister Theresa May committed to one two weeks ago.

The report also reveals that 11 states and regions, and 23 cities have set goals to eliminate their net emissions, including California, Catalunya, Barcelona and Los Angeles.

Moreover, at least 34 companies with annual income above $1bn (£0.8bn) have set net zero emission targets, and a few have already met them.

This comes after the Energy Transition Commission revealed last year that net zero emissions can be reached by 2050 at a cost below 0.5% of global GDP.

“The fact that governments, regions, cities and businesses are beginning to set net zero targets indicates a growing level of concern among citizens and governments about climate change,” Black continued.

“It also reflects a growing body of evidence showing that it can be done, and done affordably.”

 

Image credit | Shutterstock
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Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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