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Net zero commitments globally represent 61% of emissions

May 6, 2021
News item image To stabilise the climate we need to reach at least net zero emissions globally. Progress towards net zero should come primarily from drastic cuts in emissions, rather than negative emissions technologies and carbon offsets.

Oxford Net Zero, in collaboration with the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, have published a global assessment of net zero targets across all countries, all states and regions in the 25 highest-emitting countries, all cities with a population over 500,000, and all companies in the Forbes Global 2000 list. 769 (19%) of these parties have a net zero target in place. Collectively, these commitments represent 61% of global emissions, and the parties represent 68% of global GDP and 56% of the global population.

However, only 20% of the net zero targets meet basic robustness criteria, as defined by the UN Race to Zero Campaign. These criteria cover aspects such as scope (e.g. all gases should be included), timing (e.g. action must start immediately), and addressing uncertainty (e.g. around technology and governance).

The majority of net zero commitments do not make it clear whether they plan to use carbon offsets to meet their targets. Of those that state that they will use offsets, conditions on how they would be used have only been given by eight countries, 11 regions, 21 cities and 87 companies. It is even rarer for offsets to be totally ruled out – this has been done by one country, eight regions, 11 cities and 33 companies.

Read the full report here, and explore the Oxford Net Zero website here.