The need for a net zero principles framework to support public policy at local, regional and national levels

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Abstract

Many nations have committed to mid-century net zero carbon emissions targets in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement. These require systemic transition in how people live and do business in different local areas and regions within different nations and economies. Indeed, in recognition of the climate challenge, many regional and city authorities within nations have set their own net zero targets. What is missing is a grounded principles framework to support what will inevitably be a range of broader public policy actions, which must in turn consider pathways that are not only technically, but economically, socially and politically feasible. Here we attempt to stimulate discussion on this issue. We do so by making an initial proposition around a set of generic questions that should challenge any decarbonisation action, using the example of carbon capture and storage to illustrate the importance and complexity of ensuring feasibility of actions in a political economy arena. We argue that this gives rise to five fundamental ‘Net Zero Principles’ around understanding of who really pays and gains, identifying pathways that deliver growing and equitable prosperity, some of which can deliver near term economic returns, while avoiding outcomes that simply involve ‘off-shoring’ of emissions, jobs and GDP.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalLocal Economy
Early online date12 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • net zero principles framework
  • public policy
  • carbon emission targets

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