National Net Zero Policy

At the latest UN climate conference (COP25), a “Climate Ambition Alliance” identified actors “working towards” net zero. This alliance includes 120 countries plus the EU, 400 cities, 800 businesses, and 15 states and regions. Very few of these countries have actual laws or nation-wide strategies aiming at net zero. Although the ECIU estimates that 123 countries have expressed an interest in achieving net zero, in reality few countries have translated that interest into tangible action.

Different countries have different policy tools to make net zero plans. Net zero goals could be enshrined in law, as the UK has done, mentioned in their updated Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement, set out as a long-term strategy, or declared a government objective. National policies create enabling environments for other actors to make a net zero pledge, and guide policy development on both an international and sub-national level.

At the minimum national level credible net zero plans should:

  • Have short- and medium-term targets
  • Be comprehensive in accounting for all emissions of greenhouse gases
  • Demonstrate continued effort in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases
  • Intend to permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to offset residual emissions.
  • Public a clear plan to achieve net zero by mid-century, with actions starting now

See the full minimum criteria for the race to zero

Oxford Net Zero is also helping inform the British Parliament’s policies to achieve net zero through the work of its Net Zero All-Party Parliamentary Group. Watch this page for more information and presentation materials from our APPG Presentations.

National policies are essential to enable other actors’ pledges to net zero.

A map of net zero countries as listed on the ECIU Net Zero Tracker

Business for Net Zero

This page provides resources for businesses seeking to develop their own net zero business plans and to contribute to the wider effort to mitigate the climate crisis by identifying the solutions, risks and opportunities for achieving net zero in each sector.

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