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Aseem Prakash in The Regulatory Review, "Net-Zero Emission Pledges May Not Lead to Full Decarbonization"

Submitted by Junhee Park on February 13, 2023 - 12:53pm

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change established the goal “to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. To reach this goal, countries should achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. To date, 139 countries representing 83 percent of global emissions have announced net-zero emission pledges. However, the 2022 United Nations Environmental Programme’s Emission Gaps Report highlights that countries are not meeting emissions goals. It predicts that, on the current emissions trajectory, global temperatures could rise to 2.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

Why these emission gaps despite the pledges?  One reason might be that countries' net-zero emissions pledges have loopholes, making it possible for them to avoid aggressive decarbonization. Loopholes are possible because pledges do not follow a standard format. They vary in terms of the share of the country’s emissions pledges cover, how quickly the country promises to reduce emissions, and mechanisms the country has in place to ensure that decarbonization proceeds as planned.

We published an essay on this subject today in Regulatory Review, an open-access platform from Penn Law School.
Here's the URL: