Net zero: climate-saving target or delay tactic? | 6/26/2019 | Staff
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With the European Union set to decide whether to adopt a plan to green their economies and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, how does carbon neutrality relate to the climate crisis?

Why net zero?

Nations - Week - Madrid - UN - Climate

Nations are gathered this week in Madrid at a UN climate summit designed to finalise the rulebook for the landmark 2015 Paris accord.

Paris aims to cap warming at two degrees Celsius (3.6 Farenheit) and requires nations to submit individually defined plans to slash the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving the mercury up.

Cap - Experts - Effects - Hothouse - Earth

It also strives for a safer cap of 1.5C of warming which experts believe can stave off the worst social, economic and environmental effects of a hothouse Earth.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), most nations need to be carbon neutral—that is, either reduce emissions to zero or offset those that remain through ecological or technological solutions—by mid-century in order to stay below the 1.5C cap.


Who's on board?

Britain and France, both large historic emitters, have passed laws to reach climate neutrality by 2050, as have Sweden and New Zealand.

Handful - Nations - Timelines

A handful of other nations have laid out concrete net-zero timelines.

Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, which tracks where nations are on net-zero pledges, said the target was "probably the best single indicator of whether a nation is serious about delivering what it promised" in the Paris deal.

EU - Bloc - COP - Summits - June

The EU, which negotiates in a single bloc at COP summits, failed in June to agree to the 2050 goal, with some member states saying more discussion was needed.

Yvon Slingenberg, director of the European Commission's international policymaking division, told AFP then that she was confident that all EU states would back the 2050 goal by the end of the year.

Europe - Lead - Transition - Neutrality

"If Europe doesn't take the lead in the transition to climate neutrality then who can we...
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