Net Zero: An Analysis of Net Zero Targets and Laws

This report provides an accessible global overview of Net Zero, what it means, and what accounts for its meteoric rise in the already crowded debate around climate policy.

Since first emerging around the adoption of the Paris Climate Accord in 2015, Net Zero targets have been adopted by hundreds of companies, as well as by hundreds of municipal, provincial, as well as national governments from both developed and developing countries worldwide.

Part of the reason for this remarkable momentum is that the awareness is growing that we are collectively emitting more GHG emissions than the earth’s ecosystems can store, raising the urgency of bringing global emissions under control. At the same time, the ability of natural ecosystems and oceans to capture and store carbon is being diminished by human activity (agriculture, deforestation, ocean pollution, etc.)

It is against this backdrop that the concept of Net Zero can be useful: it provides a helpful framework for thinking about how to bring global emissions back down to a level consistent with maintaining a stable global climate.

This report provides an overview of many of the key pitfalls to avoid when articulating Net Zero laws and policies as well as a detailed benchmarking of how different countries’ Net Zero laws compare in terms of their content, their time horizons, including how (or whether) they deal with the increasingly controversial topic of negative emissions.

While the report was prepared with a focus on India, it provides a clear foundation for thinking about Net Zero for decision-makers worldwide.

  • Year: 2023
  • Publication Date: November 2023