Climate Action

One-sixth of global economy under net zero commitments, finds report

A report published by the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has found that almost one-sixth of global GDP is contributed to by nations, regions and cities that have committed to net zero emissions.

  • 27 June 2019
  • Poppy Bootman

A report published by the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has found that almost one-sixth of global GDP is contributed to by nations, regions and cities that have committed to net zero emissions.

The report complied global policy data of countries, regions and cities to create a ‘Net Zero Tracker’ to compare global progress towards achieving net zero emissions.

Analysis found that fifteen states had declared their intentions of achieving net zero emissions in or before 2050, and one-sixth of global GDP is covered by net zero commitments.

Bhutan and Suriname were identified as the only two countries in negative emissions. Norway and Sweden have both made legislative commitments to reach net zero by 2030 and 2045 respectively. The UK has now achieved this legislative category after MPs unanimously agreed for the UK to become net zero by 2050. The other ten states have made net zero commitments in policy documents.

The net zero commitments result from the 2015 Paris Agreement in which 125 parties pledged to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as advised by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Since, the IPCC has lowered this goal to 1.5 degrees Celsius and has warned governments that to obtain this goal, policy should set net zero targets for 2050.

Global progress towards these targets have been mixed. In 2017, the USA sent its official withdrawal from the Agreement. However, net zero commitments such as those indicated in ECIU’s report suggest that other countries are taking firm action towards their pledges.

Director at ECIU, Richard Black said: “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, so it’s notable that such a large slice of the global economy is already being conducted under net zero targets.

“Of course a target means little without a process to meet it. But science shows unequivocally that halting climate change means reducing emissions to net zero; so if a government isn’t planning to bring its own emissions to net zero, it can’t really claim to be planning to do its share of stopping climate change.”

In addition to government commitments, ECIU analysis underlined that a minimum of 34 companies with annual incomes above $1bn have set net zero emission targets, some of which have achieved these.

Read the full press release here.