The world is in a race against the escalating effects of climate change. And one of the most urgent and vital steps is cutting greenhouse gas emissions, chiefly emissions from burning fossil fuels that power much of the global economy. A global North Star target is to cut emissions to net zero by 2050, which the United Nations' leading climate science panel says is a must if the world is to limit warming to 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels. Given that the world has already warmed 1.2 deg C in little more than a century, and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere keep rising, the climate challenge is immense. To mitigate the effects on populations and protect the planet, the global economy needs to reach net-zero emissions in little more than a generation. This means cutting greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity to as close to zero as possible and abating the remainder by using the oceans, forests and other solutions.
But the net-zero path is not easy and is a huge challenge for governments and companies. It means figuring out how to slash emissions from transport, energy production, manufacturing, supply chains, buildings, agriculture and so on. Business practices, investments and government policies must promote the transition to clean energy and the wider green economy. This is happening. But it needs to be ramped up quickly.