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States must be real, genuine about Net Zero pledges

Funding coal-powered projects in poor countries means dumping (by selling to the poor) coal. [Courtesy]

This is so applicable to the efforts to achieve Net Zero carbon emission as a long term strategy to manage climate change, alongside other resilience and adaptation measures.

Net Zero does not mean reducing carbon emissions to zero, but having a balance between amount of carbon released to the atmosphere and that removed from the same environment.

Some 130 of the more than 190 signatories to the binding Paris Agreement, besides sending their enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), have either also committed to achieving Net Zero by 2050 (2060 for leading emitter China), or have stated willingness. Achieving a carbon-neutral world will be key in getting to the preferred 1.5 degrees Celsius warming limit from pre-industrial era.

Several giant companies have made similar commitments. Individual commitments also count.

But this is not binding for many, reducing chances of accountability.

According to UN, only some of the 130 signatories to the Paris Agreement that have pledged Net-Zero by 2050 have entrenched the same in law.

The vows need legal backing to ensure political will and fair allocation of funds towards technological advancement for the goals to be achieved.

Long-term Net-Zero targets can shape climate action now. [Courtesy]

Focus may largely remain on achieving the commitments made in the short term (between 2025 - 2030) goals outlined in submitted NDCs, but the long-term Net-Zero targets can shape climate action now.

While the mention of Net Zero mostly brings to mind the giant economies, the least emitters of Green House Gases in Africa and Asia must address the four inward-pointing fingers and enhance locally-led action, including by private firms, to minimise carbon footprints

This goes beyond the emphasized nature-based solutions to prioritising necessary technological advancement and adequate budget allocation to the grassroots institutions.

It also needs consciously guarding against greedy developed countries and giant firms ensuring Net Zero back at their home, but promoting increased carbon emissions in the least developed countries.

Funding coal-powered projects in poor countries means dumping (by selling to the poor) coal. Funding of crude oil transportation through heated pipelines in Africa may sound like a justified means to boost the poorer economies, but the long term effects, in terms of carbon emissions, and which spread far beyond the boundaries of affected countries, will be disastrous.

The end winner with such projects are the funding firms or states and brokers, as their people will not be displaced to pave way for such work, nor will it be their land being rendered useless and uninhabitable after the extraction. They will make huge profits from the coal and oil projects that would have brought to Africa multiple losses.

Transition towards clean renewable energy is key for all to hit the Net Zero target.