Evaluation methodology for national net zero targets

Since the adoption of the Paris Agreement and the release of the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, a growing number of countries have committed to net zero emissions targets. As of June 2021, 31 countries and the European Union have set such a target, either in law or in a policy document, and more than 100 countries have proposed or are considering one. While it is encouraging that many governments are committing to net zero emissions, their targets vary in terms of timeframe, what GHG emissions and economic sectors are covered, whether the country intends to rely on removals and reductions outside its own borders, the target’s legal status, among other aspects. This has important implications for the strength of net zero targets, and whether they are likely to contribute sufficiently to reaching net zero emissions globally. In this Climate Action Tracker (CAT) evaluation methodology for national net zero targets, outline a design blueprint for transparent, comprehensive, and robust net zero targets. This blueprint contains ten key elements of good practice that governments setting net zero targets should consider.