Researched and compiled by Nick Zrinyi, Policy Analyst

The contents of this document are for information purposes only. Nothing in this document should be construed as legal or professional advice and you may not rely on the contents of this document as such.

Net-zero commitments can take the form of legislation, a submission to the UN, a policy statement, a coalition agreement, other credible public proclamations, or any combination thereof. It is important to note that net-zero commitments and climate accountability legislation are different, though there is some overlap. A country can have a commitment without legislation, or they can have a commitment that was made recently that is not reflected in older legislation. Finland, for example, has a coalition agreement as of 2019 to reach net-zero by 2035, however, their 2015 Climate Change Act only requires an 80% reduction by 2050. We also acknowledge the 121 countries, of which there is also overlap, who are participants in the Climate Ambition Alliance. Their commitment involves “working towards achieving net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050”, however, the nature of this commitment, its terms, and specific requirements aren’t clear at this time and are therefore included here for information rather than the tables below.

Highlights

  • Two nations have already achieved net net-zero emission and now claim to be carbon negative.
  • Thirty-three other countries have made commitments to achieve carbon neutrality before or by 2050.
  • There are five OECD countries that have net-zero commitments earlier than 2050.
  • At least 15 countries have enshrined some system of climate accountability in legislation. Because there is no international standard of “accountability”, this category could be expanded significantly, depending on what criteria is used. The ones listed are either recent, comprehensive or easy to find (none were intentionally excluded).

These lists are meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive and are valid as of March 2021.

Criteria No. Countries
Already carbon-negative 2
Commitment – before 2050
7
Commitment – by 2050
26
Commitment – after 2050
3
Legislation – before/by 2050 11
Legislation – after 2050 4

Countries with Net-Zero Commitments

Net-Zero Already Achieved or Before 2050

Country Source Net-Zero Date
Suriname UN News (2020) Achieved 2014
Bhutan
Policy Brief (2021) Achieved...Always
Maldives
Submission to UN (2020) 2030
Norway
Policy Position (2015) 2030 (2050 without intl offsets)
Uruguay Submission to UN (2020) 2030
Finland Coalition Agreement (2019) 2035
Iceland
Climate Strategy (2020) 2040
Austria Policy Position (2020) 2040
Sweden Climate Policy Framework (2017) 2045

Net-Zero By 2050

Country Source Net-Zero Date
EUROPE
The United Kingdom UK becomes first major economy to pass net zero emissions law (2019) 2050
France
Loi relative à l'énergie et au climat (2019) 2050
Denmark
Climate Act (2020) 2050
Germany
Germany’s Climate Action Law (2020) 2050
New Zealand Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act (2019) 2050
Hungary Bill on the Declaration of the Climate Emergency (2020) (Hungarian) 2050
Japan
Japan net zero emissions pledge puts coal in the spotlight (2020) 2050
South Korea Submission to UN (2020) 2050
Switzerland Submission to UN (2020) 2050
Slovakia Submission to UN (2020) 2050
Spain Policy Position (2020) 2050
Portugal Policy Position (2018) 2050
The European Union Green Deal (2019) 2050
Ireland Coalition Agreement (2020) 2050
AMERICAS
Argentina/td> Updated Plan to UN (2020) 2050
Chile
Policy Position (2019) and Submission to UN (2020) 2050
Colombia
Submission to UN (2020) 2050
Costa Rica
Policy Position (2019) and Submission to UN (2020) 2050
Panama Submission to UN (2020) 2050
Grenada Submission to UN (2020) 2050
The United States
Election Promise (2020) 2050
Canada Policy Position (2020) 2050
ALL OTHER
Fiji Submission to UN (2020) 2050
Marshall Islands Submission to UN (2020) 2050
Nepal Submission to UN (2018) 2050
South Africa Policy Position (2018) 2050

Net-Zero After 2050

Country Source Net-Zero Date
China Announcement to UN (2020) (2019) 2060
Brazil
Submission to UN (2020) 2060
Singapore
Submission to UN (2020) “As soon as viable in the second half of the century”

Countries with Climate Accountability Legislation

Net-Zero by 2050

Country Law Target(s)
Sweden Climate Policy Framework (2017) Net-zero by 2045
The United Kingdom
Climate Change Act (2008) Net-zero by 2050
France
Loi relative à l’énergie et au climat (2019) Net-zero by 2050
Denmark
Climate Act (2020) 70% in 2030 compared to 1990 and net-zero by 2050
Norway Climate Change Act (2018) 2050
Fiji Climate Change Act (2019) (Draft) Net-zero by 2050
New Zealand
Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act (2019) Net-zero by 2050
Hungary Bill on the Declaration of the Climate Emergency (2020) (Hungarian) 55% by 2030, net-zero by 2050
Spain Bill on Climate Change and the Energy Transition (2020) Net-zero by 2050 at the latest
Germany Climate Action Law (2020) Net-zero by 2050
Ireland Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill (2021) Net-zero by 2050

Net-Zero After 2050, or Not at All

Country Law Target(s)
Mexico General Law on Climate Change (2012) 50% below 2000 levels by 2050
Algeria
The National Climate Plan (2013) 7 to 22% by 2030 against a 2013 baseline
The Netherlands
Climate Act (2019) 49% by 2030 and 95% by 2050, 100% clean electricity by 2050
Finland
Climate Change Act (2015) 80% by 2050