At the UN General Assembly in September, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China aimed to go carbon neutral by 2060.
Cutting carbon has always been seen as an expensive chore yet here was the most polluting nation on earth – responsible for 28% of world emissions – making an unconditional commitment to do just that regardless of whether other countries followed its lead.
That was a complete turnaround from past negotiations, when everyone’s fear was they might end up incurring the cost of decarbonizing their own economy, while others did nothing but still enjoyed the climate change fruits of their labor.
The UK was the first major economy to make a legally binding net zero commitment in June 2019, followed by the European Union in March 2020.
The UN estimates over 110 countries have set a net zero target for mid-century. Together, they represent over 65% of global emissions and more than 70% of the world economy, the UN says.