Net Zero: A short history

From obscure scientific concept to 91% of the global economy in the blink of an eye.

5 JUL 2022

NZ Short History Timeline 22

Seldom does a concept come along that is both intuitively digestible and scientifically accurate. Net zero, a future state where the sum of human emissions and removals becomes zero, has come a long way quickly. It had to — achieving net zero is how we stop climate change.

But great success comes with great scrutiny. For net zero to deliver on, and retain, its new status as the lodestar for long-term decarbonisation, we need to go from target setting being universal to target quality being universally robust. The best time to improve the integrity of net zero targets was yesterday; the next best time is today.

The above timeline, created by Net Zero Tracker project lead John Lang, first appeared in our Net Zero Stocktake 2022 report, published June 2022.


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