What is it about?

Many countries, companies and organisations have set net zero targets, aiming to reduce their emissions to zero, or to balance emissions with offsets. Ever since the concept was boosted in 2019 and 2020, it has become ever-present in conversations on climate policy and climate action. This paper details the evolution of net zero: where it came from and who pushed it to the forefront.

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Why is it important?

1. Net zero is an international norm, which means that anyone not setting a target will have to justify this decision. 2. The scientific community and organisations such as the IPCC can provide scientific foundations for norms that are more likely to translate through the work of (transnational) advocacy groups. 3. Not every party that has set a net zero norm, has done this for the same reasons. Net zero can now be used by civil society and others to keep those aiming for net zero accountable. 4. Net zero is a new norm and is sensitive to backsliding and lack of legitimacy. The validity and fairness of net zero needs to be strengthened, which can be done by closing the gap between climate goals and policy implementation.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Reframing the climate debate: The origins and diffusion of net zero pledges, Global Policy, November 2022, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/1758-5899.13161.
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