Each year, in small and big ways we see the effects of climate change on our lives. Whether that be the record breaking heat, wildfires, or glacial melting.
Some countries are taking action to work against the effects of climate change with the goal of reaching net-zero emissions around the world. In over 90 countries, these targets are a commitment to prevent climate change’s most harmful impacts.
“Net-zero” essentially means a country is working to offset its carbon emissions by using alternative energy sources or finding methods to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Reaching net-zero means the greenhouse gases being emitted are balanced or canceled out by their removal from the atmosphere.
However, many countries who say they are committed to this goal are often questioned in their sincerity and credibility. Countries who have committed to reaching net zero include some of the world’s most populous and powerful countries like the U.S., China, and India. These countries are also responsible for nearly 80% of global greenhouse emissions according to the World Resources Institute (WRI).
The United States pledged to meet net-zero emissions by 2050, but it’s hard to believe that kind of turn around might be possible. Two countries, Guyana in South America, and Gabon in Africa, have already achieved net-zero.
In Costa Rica, where ecotourism is a major part of the economy, there is certainly plenty of incentive to protect the land and sea. They even development a National Decarbonization Plan in 2019 and set goals like the implementation of 1,000 electric buses to reduce emissions in the transportation system.
Another South American country, Chile has established a Climate Change Framework Law which establishes a new governance structure at national and local levels. According to WRI, this “decentralizes responsibility, assigning climate-related tasks to multiple government ministries, regional authorities, and municipal governments so that one ministry is not burdened with sole implementation.”
For the complete list of countries and where they stand on net-zero emissions, click here.