SUMMARY: The article discusses how net-zero emissions targets are vague and provides three ways to fix this. The details behind net-zero targets differ: some outline the reductions in CO2 emissions while negating other GHG emissions while others focus on direct emissions as opposed to supply chain emissions. Clarity on net-zero targets is essential because without more clarity, strategies behind net-zero targets cannot be understood; nor can their impact be evaluated. The article outlines three aspects which nations, companies and researchers need to clarify, these are their scope (which emissions sources and gases are covered); how they are deemed adequate and fair; and concrete road maps (which includes milestones an implementation plan and strategy to achieve and maintain targets) towards and beyond net-zero.
KEY FINDINGS: The article outlines a check list for rigours and clear net-zero plans:
Scope: What global temperature goal does this plan contribute to (to stabilise global temperature, or see it peak and decline)?; What is the target date for net zero?; Which greenhouse gases are considered?; How are greenhouse gases aggregated (GWP-100 or another metric)?; What is the extent of the emissions (over which territories, time frames or activities)?; What are the relative contributions of reductions, removals and offsets?; How will risks be managed around removals and offsets?
Fairness: What principles are being applied?; Would the global climate goal be achieved if everyone did this?; What are the consequences for others if these principles are applied universally?; How will your target affect others' capacity to achieve net zero, and their pursuit of other Sustainable Development Goals?
Roadmap: What milestones and policies will support achievement?; What monitoring and review system will be used to assess progress and revise the target?; Will net zero be maintained, or is it a step towards net negative?