Net-zero: climate-saving target or delay tactic? | 6/17/2019 | Staff
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With Britain set to become the first major economy to commit in law to reaching a target of net-zero emissions by 2050, what is carbon neutrality, and how will nations reach it?

Why net-zero?

Nations - Week - City - Bonn - Paris

Nations are gathered this week in the German city of Bonn to discuss implementing the Paris climate deal—a landmark accord that in 2015 committed countries to work to limit global temperature rises.

Paris aims to cap warming at two degrees celsius (3.6 Farenheit) and requires nations to submit individually defined plans to slash the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving the mercury up.

Cap - Experts - Effects - Hothouse - Earth

It also strives for a safer cap of 1.5C of warming which experts believe can stave off the worst social, economic and environmental effects of a hothouse Earth.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), the 1.5-C cap means most nations by mid-century need to be carbon neutral—that is, either reduce emissions to zero or offset those that remain through ecological or technological solutions.


Who's on board?

Britain's net-zero law is expected to pass this month. France, another large historic emitter, has draft legislation for climate neutrality by 2050, as do Spain and New Zealand.

Sweden - Norway - Laws - Economies - Handful

Sweden and Norway have laws holding them to carbon-neutral economies by 2045 and 2030, respectively, and a handful of other nations have laid out concrete net-zero timelines.

Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, which tracks where nations are on net-zero pledges, said the target was "probably the best single indicator of whether a nation is serious about delivering what it promised" in the Paris deal.

European - Union - Week - Goal - Member

The European Union failed last week to agree to the 2050 goal, with some member states saying more discussion was needed.

Yvon Slingenberg, director of the European Commission's international policymaking division, told AFP she was confident that all EU states would back the 2050 goal by the end...
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