Net-zero means cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to as close to zero as possible, with remaining emissions reabsorbed from the atmosphere – by oceans and forests, for example.
Why is net-zero vital?
Science shows that to avert the worst impacts of climate change and preserve a livable planet, the global temperature increase must be limited to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Currently, the planet is about 1.1°C warmer than it was in the late 1800s and emissions continue to rise.
To keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C, as the Paris Agreement calls for, emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.
How can we achieve net-zero?
Transitioning to a net-zero world is a mammoth task. It calls for nothing less than a complete transformation of how we produce, consume and move about.
The energy sector creates around three-quarters of GHG emissions and is key to averting the worst effects. Replacing polluting coal, oil and gas power with renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, would dramatically reduce emissions.
A global effort is underway
A growing coalition of countries, cities, businesses and other institutions are pledging to reach net-zero emissions. More than 70 countries, including the biggest polluters – China, the US and the EU – have set a net-zero target, covering about 76% of global emissions. Over 1,200 companies have put in place science-based targets in line with net-zero, and over 1,000 cities, 1,000 educational and 400 financial institutions have joined the Race to Zero.
Ensuring commitments turn into action
The growth in net-zero pledges has been accompanied by a proliferation of criteria with varying levels of robustness. To develop stronger and clearer standards for such pledges by non-state entities, such as businesses, investors, cities and regions, and speed up implementation, UN Secretary-General António Guterres established the High-Level Expert Group on the Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities in March 2022. The group will make recommendations before the end of the year.
Are we on track to reach net-zero by 2050?
Unfortunately, no. Commitments made by governments to date fall far short of what is required. Getting to net-zero requires all governments – first and foremost, the biggest emitters – to significantly strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and take bold, immediate steps toward reducing emissions now.
To support climate action and your net-zero mission, our ever-expanding Sustainability Solutions portfolio is organized into six pillars:
- Sustainable Business Practices
- Sustainable Energy
- Sustainable Infrastructures
- Sustainable Living
- Sustainable Production
- Sustainable Use of Natural Resources
All of these align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).
Whatever your organization’s size, we can help you to implement more efficient processes, address risks and stakeholder concerns, and accomplish sustainability goals.
For more information, see our Sustainability Solutions.
For inquiries, please contact:
Associate Marketing Manager
m: +44 7912 426878
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