What is net zero?
Net zero is achieved when no incremental greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere. This means that carbon emissions are balanced with the removal of carbon from the atmosphere (e.g. by certified carbon capture, forests, etc.). According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, we should aim to achieve net zero globally by 2050, at the latest, to avert climate disaster. For more information, read the UNFCCC Race to Zero campaign’s guide to net zero.
What is the Race to Zero?
The Race to Zero is a global UN-backed campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, and investors for a healthy, resilient, and zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. All members are committed to the same minimum requirements: halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050 at the very latest. They are also aligned to the same overarching meta-criteria: to pledge, plan, proceed and publish. This campaign focuses on mitigation, but our sister campaign, the Race to Resilience, focuses on climate adaptation.
Can offsets be included?
Race to Zero is not an offsetting campaign, members must prioritise absolute emissions reductions. The Race focuses on immediate abatement measures and does not accept counting offsets (e.g. avoided emissions) as part of emissions reduction targets. Offsetting is a measure that can only be taken minimally, once all reasonable measures have been made to reduce emissions. Further information on offsets can be found in The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting.
Who is in the Race to Zero?
Non-state actors - including companies, cities, regions, financial, educational and healthcare institutions - can join the campaign through key initiatives and networks. To date, 733 cities, 31 regions, 3,067 businesses, 173 of the biggest investors, and 622 Higher Education Institutions are involved in the Race to Zero, committing to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.