It is international scientific consensus that, in order to prevent the worst climate damages, global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero around 2050. Global warming is proportional to cumulative CO2 emissions, which means that the planet will keep heating for as long as global emissions remain more than zero. This implies that climate damages, caused by global heating, will continue escalating for as long as emissions continue. [Source: University of Oxford]

What Is Net Zero?

Net zero refers to a state in which the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere are balanced by removal out of the atmosphere.

The term net zero is important because – for CO2 at least – this is the state at which global warming stops. The Paris Agreement underlines the need for net zero. It requires states to ‘achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century’.

To ‘go net zero’ is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or to ensure that any ongoing emissions are balanced by removals.

The ‘net’ in net zero is important because it will be very difficult to reduce all emissions to zero on the timescale needed. As well as deep and widespread cuts in emissions, we will likely need to scale up removals. In order for net zero to be effective, it must be permanent. Permanence means that removed greenhouse gas does not return into the atmosphere over time, for example through the destruction of forests or improper carbon storage.

Permanent or hard ‘net zero’ refers to a balance between all greenhouse gas sinks and sources that is sustained over matching time scales.


Different terms (Carbon Neutral, Net Zero, Climate Neutral) point to different ways in which emissions sources and sinks are accounted for in context. They help to indicate what is and is not included in the calculation or a target. Net zero is the internationally agreed upon goal for mitigating global warming in the second half of the century. The IPCC concluded the need for net zero CO2 by 2050 to remain consistent with 1.5C. So, the purpose of this site is to inform effective climate action that is net zero aligned in order to advance progress towards this goal.

Source: (University of Oxford)

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