Accelerating Net Zero – Exploring Cities, Regions, and Companies’ Pledges to Decarbonise

NewClimate Institute and Data-Driven EnviroLab

The two-part study by the Data-Driven EnviroLab and the NewClimate Institute analyses the net-zero targets of subnational governments and businesses. While the first part maps the existing targets as of now, the second part, entitled “Navigating the nuances of net-zero targets”, goes into the details and is to provide local actors with the tools to assess their ambitions and associated impacts.

Key findings include:

  • Within the last year, the number of net-zero targets has roughly doubled.
  • As of now, 823 cities and 101 regions have such targets (covering 11 % of the global population and 6.5 gigatonnes of GHG emissions).
  • That is more than the combined GDP of Japan, India and the UK.
  • However, only 43 % of these cities and regions have developed detailed action plans to reach them and only 24 % have put their targets into binding legislation.
  • Europe is the region with the biggest number of city and regional net zero pledges, followed by Latin America in second and East Asia and the Pacific third.
  • In Australia, the commitments by states and territories cover more than 95 percent of the country’s population.

Generally, cities and regions with national governments who are also pursuing ambitious emissions reductions targets may have better financial, technical, and political support. Notably in Australia, Sweden, South Africa, Canada, Japan, and Spain, cities and regions targeting net zero have reached a critical mass, representing more than 70 % of their respective national populations.