After more than three decades of trying (and failing) to achieve a global price on carbon, drivers of climate action have turned toward the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as the organizing principle for solving the climate crisis. In 2019, the UK government became the first G7 economy to legislate net zero by 2050 and in 2020 Microsoft made the first net-negative pledge by any Fortune 100 company. In 2022, a global coalition of financial institutions counted $150 trillion in assets pledged to achieve net zero by 2050. By the end of 2022 net zero pledges covered over 91% of the global economy.
As governments, investors and corporations move from signing to implementing net zero pledges, cracks have emerged in the data sources, tools and frameworks that have carried the practice of net zero to its voluntary pinnacle. In order to traverse from voluntary to compliance activities, and to scale from investing billions to trillions in decarbonization, it will be necessary to evolve current practice. In short, net zero must add up.
This project is designed to move from counting carbon to accounting for carbon and to develop a blueprint for Emissions Liability Management (ELM). Our research and analysis aims to offer guidance for regulators developing disclosure standards and insights for investors and executives committed to implementing net zero pledges.