Global Governance

These are the countries that have made their climate commitments law

Roy’s Peak New Zealand 2017

Two countries have already declared themselves carbon negative: Suriname and Bhutan. Image: Paula May/Unsplash

Sean Fleming
Senior Writer, Formative Content
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Global Governance?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Global Governance is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Global Governance

New Zealand has joined an elite group of countries that has enacted emissions-target legislation, aiming to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050.

The new law commits the country of 4.9 million people to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It also legislated for a reduction in methane emissions in the range of 24% to 47% in the same timeframe.

Have you read?

In addition, it will create an independent climate change commission to advise the government on the action that should be taken to meet environmental commitments.

New Zealand is the fifth country pass laws to curtail carbon emissions. The others are Sweden, France, the United Kingdom, and Scotland, which passed its own law pledging to reach net-zero five years sooner than the rest of the UK. And two countries have already declared themselves carbon negative: Suriname and Bhutan.

New Zealand passed a law to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
The emissions omission

Between 1850 and 1999, 1,010 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions were released due to man-made activity. Since 2000, approximately half as much has been released, emphasizing the urgent need to curtail carbon emissions.

Chile and Fiji have proposed legislation similar to the law passed in New Zealand. In Fiji, a bill has already been outlined and is expected to come into force soon. If it does, it will also ban single-use plastic bags from 2020.

How much carbon dioxide have we released to date? Image: Information is Beautiful
But more support needed

Although the climate crisis routinely makes headlines, the international response has been mixed. Apart from the countries already mentioned, nine others have stated their climate commitments in policy documents, and about 15 have a government minister with responsibility for climate concerns.

Activist Greta Thunberg railed at members of the United Nations in a speech during September’s Climate Summit: “The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line.”

Discover

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about climate change?

But currently, fewer than half the world’s countries stand behind that line. In addition to the small number of nations that have enacted or proposed legislation, developed policies or appointed government ministers, around 50 nations are still discussing their targets.

New Zealand’s legislation is based on the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act, with two significant changes. The first: the act only applies to New Zealand’s domestic emissions. It will not take into account any carbon trading initiatives, for example. The second: it will operate separate targets for long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, and short-lived gases such as methane.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Global GovernanceSustainable DevelopmentEnergy TransitionFuture of the EnvironmentClimate Change
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

AI: Will governance catch up with the tech in 2024?

David Elliott

March 1, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum