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Road to Net Zero – which countries need to do more in the fight against climate change?

COP26: Laura Kuenssberg on India’s net-zero target

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Net Zero or carbon neutrality will need to be achieved to avert climate disaster, scientists have warned. World leaders are finally waking up to the seriousness of climate change and are starting to take steps to cut their country’s greenhouse emissions. But some nations have set more ambitious targets than others. Here are the countries which need to do more to tackle climate change.

The move to set ambitious net zero targets has been eagerly adopted by countries keen to curb their emissions.

In 2019, just 16 percent of the global economy had net zero targets.

This has leapt up, with almost 70 percent of the global economy now committed to net zero by 2050, according to Science-Based Targets.

More than 130 nations have now set – or are considering a target of – reducing emissions to net zero by 2050, the UN has revealed.

These include the US, UK, Australia, the EU, South Africa, Chile, Japan, and Canada.

Which countries need to do more to reach net zero?

Despite these ambitious targets only two countries in the world, Bhutan and Suriname, have achieved carbon neutrality.

Some countries have refused to set net zero targets; one notorious example is Russia.

China has been blasted for not taking climate change seriously enough with its unambitious target to achieve net zero target by 2060.

China is by far the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

The Rhodium Group found China’s emissions accounted for 27 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases in 2019.

Despite this worrying statistic, China’s president, Xi Jinping, has failed to join world leaders for the UN COP26 climate change conference to discuss a global strategy to fight climate change.

India, the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for 6.6 percent of global emissions, has set a net zero target for 2070.

What is ‘net zero’?

Net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced by a country and the amount recovered from the atmosphere.

Net zero is reached when the amount of emissions we add to the atmosphere is no more than the amount taken away.

Factors such as burning fossil fuels will add greenhouse gases to the environment, which will subsequently heat the Earth, causing global temperatures to soar.

But these harmful gases, such as carbon dioxide, can be taken from the atmosphere through actions such as planting trees.

How well is the UK doing?

The UK became the world’s first major economy to set an ambitious target of being net zero by 2050.

But other countries have since bettered the UK’s target.
Finland’s net zero target is 2035, while both Austria and Iceland follow closely behind with a target of 2040.

Germany and Sweden have also bettered Britain with net zero targets of 2045, while surprisingly Uruguay has an ambitious target of 2030.

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