International Net Zero Policy

The international goal towards net zero has already been established in the Paris Agreement. The ‘bottom-up’ architecture of the agreement, means that the implementation of this goal is left to each nation. Nations are to hold each other accountable by taking stock of each other’s actions. They are also tasked to raise their ambition towards full decarbonization every five years. The first scheduled stock-take of climate action and ratchet-up of climate ambition is due in November 2020 as part of COP26 Glasgow. The Paris Agreement also considers non-state actors, such as international coalitions of cities, regions and businesses, in the international process.


The most critical role of the international processes is to provide useful platforms to enhance ambition and share best practices on how to achieve the net zero goal. At the latest UN climate conference (COP25), a “Climate Ambition Alliance” identified actors “working towards” net zero. This alliance is the broadest base of actors and includes 120 countries including the EU, 400 cities, 800 businesses, and 15 states and regions.


Although implementation of the Paris Agreement is left to each state, further international-global discussion is relevant. Discussion is needed to reach agreement on core issues such as emissions accounting and greenhouse gas removal strategies.