Understanding countries’ net-zero emissions targets

This paper analyses net-zero emissions targets adopted in law, proposed in legislation, or reflected in policy documents in 51 countries and the EU to better understand their characteristics, similarities and differences. It examines countries’ experiences with translating net-zero targets into near-term plans and analyses four case studies to show how countries develop and implement different pathways to net-zero. This paper also explores the potential role and associated risks, both for individual countries and globally, of using international carbon markets to help achieve countries’ net-zero targets. The paper concludes that countries are adopting diverse approaches to their net-zero targets and many details are currently unclear, including the balance between emission reductions, removals and the use of international carbon markets in reaching countries’ net-zero targets, and how this may change over the next few decades. The paper concludes that greater clarity on the scope, coverage and detail, in particular how countries plan to meet their net-zero commitments, is important to improve understanding of countries’ net-zero targets, how they interact with each other, and their overall implications for achieving the global temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.