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Nearly half of global GDP produced in locations with net zero emission targets

Published March 24, 2020

Nearly half of global GDP produced in locations with net zero emission targets

Nearly half of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) is now generated in places where authorities have set or intend to set a target of bringing carbon emissions to net zero in or before 2050.

Net zero emissions targets now apply to nations, regions, and cities that account for nearly half of the world’s annual GDP, according to calculations produced by the London-based Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).

The analysis shows that 49% of the world’s GDP is generated in places that have set or intend to set a 2050 net zero target. Net zero targets now apply to 121 nations producing just over $39 trillion of GDP.

The list includes places with net zero targets at various levels of development: where the target is under active political discussion, where leaders have made a political declaration, where legislation is under development, and where it has been enacted.

Nikki Wilson, Alfa Energy’s Carbon Compliance Manager, said:

“It is encouraging that such a high proportion of countries and cities have taken action to set a net zero target over a relatively short period of time. It is now essential for governments and authorities to put effective policies in place, that will encourage companies, public authorities, and individuals to take action towards these net zero targets.”

In the UK, the government’s publication of the Energy White Paper is eagerly awaited, as is its response to the consultation on the future of UK carbon pricing. Expectations are that a new carbon pricing scheme should be in place by 2021. Meanwhile, the Committee on Climate Change launched a new call for Evidence in December 2019, to inform its advice on the sixth carbon budget due to be published in September 2020. The sixth carbon budget will set out a pathway to meet the UK’s net zero emissions target in 2050.

The data comes from ECIU’s Net Zero online tracker. The figure represents a tripling of global net zero ambition in the eight months since ECIU launched its tracker. Nick Fedson, Sustainability Analyst at Alfa Energy added:

“When ECIU did this same analysis last year, they found that the proportion was at around one-sixth. It’s important to note that the UK wasn’t the only reason 2050 national net zero targets took off. The IPCC introduced the idea in 2018. It’s fair to say the UK accelerated their adoption though by being the first G7 country to set one.”