One-sixth of global economy under net zero targets

Sixteen per cent of global GDP is now covered by net zero emissions targets set by nations, regions and cities, according to new analysis by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).

The analysis found that 15 nations intend to reach net zero emissions in or before 2050. Most commitments come in the form of policy documents, but two countries – Norway and Sweden – have set their targets in national legislation, and others, including the UK, are set to follow. Two other countries – Bhutan and Suriname – already absorb more greenhouse gases that they emit.

They are joined by at least 11 states and regions such as California, Catalunya and Scotland, and at least 23 cities including Barcelona, Los Angeles and New York, according to an ECIU press release.

“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,” said Richard Black, director of ECIU.

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

Last year, the Energy Transitions Commission, a global organisation including major businesses such as BP, Shell, Tata and Vattenfall, concluded that even sectors where decarbonisation is generally thought to be hard, such as aviation, shipping, steel and cement, could reach net zero by mid-century at a cost below 0.5 per cent of global GDP.

The new ECIU analysis shows that at least 34 companies with annual income above $1bn have set net zero emissions targets – and a few have already met them.

ECIU has also launched an online Net Zero Tracker, which collates and displays information on countries, regions, cities and states that have set net zero targets, and countries that are planning to do so. It will be continuously updated as more sign up.

Image credit: Omheidi via Pixabay

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