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  • Sammy Melnick

What net-zero really means

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt and devastate livelihoods, lives and operations worldwide, an ever-growing number of voices are calling for a recovery paired with bold climate action. For the public sector, private sector, and citizens worldwide, the need for resilience is clearer than ever.

This means upholding the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, in order to mitigate and reduce vulnerability to future shocks that are made more likely by global warming. To protect our economies and societies from the worst impacts of climate change, we must limit temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, which requires hitting net-zero global emissions by 2050.

The path to net-zero must be science-based

The number of businesses committing to reach net-zero emissions is rapidly growing, as they realize the urgency of tackling the climate crisis and future-proofing growth.

But not all net-zero targets are equal. The definition of net-zero itself, as well as the path to get there, are diverse and often inconsistent.

For the private sector to take the rapid, large-scale action so urgently required, businesses need a common, robust and science-based understanding of net-zero. Otherwise, they risk following a pathway that may not be consistent with addressing the climate crisis nor the sustainability goals that the international community has agreed upon.

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