GENEVA, 25 June - IETA today released its governing Council’s vision for how the organisation will pursue the “net zero” climate ambition in policy advocacy, in support of the Paris Climate Agreement. The document can be found here.
The Paris Agreement sets a goal of holding global average temperature increases to well below 2°C, while pursuing efforts towards 1.5°C. To get there, it aims for countries to reach a balance of sources and sinks in the second half of the century – often referenced simply as “net zero”. It provides support for trading between countries as they pursue this goal, consistent with clear reporting and accounting guidelines.
The IETA Council’s vision draws upon the rich history of companies using voluntary strategies that set “carbon neutrality” goals for their business operations. These strategies often focus first on deep reductions and avoidances of emissions, while using verified offsets to compensate for any remaining emissions.
The Council notes that, “Paris calls on all of us to aim higher - to reach for that balance in sources and sinks that many are calling a “net zero” goal. This signals even deeper reductions and increasing amounts of removals.”
IETA recognises that current NDCs are far from this goal, and that they need to move urgently in the “net zero” direction. It supports the efforts of many countries and companies to set “net zero” goals and pathways to achieve them, using the power of market instruments and system linkages.
It asserts that to deliver Paris goals, mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions will be required to decline to net zero, with the capacity to trade reductions and removals between countries – and between companies. This policy will produce carbon pricing signals that prompt companies to accelerate their transition to Paris-compliant levels.
“IETA’s work with governments around the world will emphasise the importance of accelerating work to make the “net” operational so that “net zero” is achievable,” said Dirk Forrister, President and CEO of IETA.
“By this, we mean that policies should enable companies and sectors to cooperate through trading policies, including use of natural climate solutions and a wide range of technological removals.”
The IETA Council emphasises clear and unequivocal support for the Paris Climate Agreement and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s scientific findings.
In jurisdictions where carbon trading systems are difficult, it urges those using other carbon pricing systems (taxes, tax incentives, etc) to assure that they deliver comparable environmental performance.
“International cooperation through markets will be essential for achieving net zero, because not every country has the same opportunities to reduce or remove greenhouse gases – while others have more opportunities than they need,” Forrister added. “The trading system envisioned in Article 6 will bring these opportunities and needs together for mutual benefit of the countries involved – advancing the global goal.”
“We want to make sure that the push for net zero is more than mere buzz words or lofty rhetoric,” said Forrister. “Those two simple words are chock full of substance, and we in the business community need to make sure they deliver in practice. That’s why IETA will pursue this vision in our work around the world.”