We need to reach Net Zero emissions in order to achieve the ambition of the Paris Agreement, which is to hold global average temperature increase to “well below 2ºC above pre industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C” The IPCC’s Special Report Global Warming of 1.5ºC makes it clear that it is necessary to achieve a global balance between emissions and removals by 2050 in order to cap the rise in global temperatures below 1.5ºC.
While the Paris Agreement sets a global objective, action to achieve that objective is driven at the national level - each country is responsible for setting their own policies to achieve the common goal. The delivery of these policies will take place at the local level. All countries, cities and businesses need to develop plans as to how they intend to achieve Net Zero.
While there may be different approaches to achieving Net Zero, it is important that such plans follow a common set of principles. Namely:
There must be comprehensive accounting for all emissions of greenhouse gases
Continued effort on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases
Permanent removals of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to offset any remaining emissions
A clear plan to achieve Net Zero by mid-century, with actions starting now.