An analysis of subnational net zero targets & recommendations for Federal Government

The Climate Group

Hosted by Oxford Net Zero

At this event, aimed at US subnational, federal, and corporate net zero policy-makers, we will present the findings of our recently release report and engage the audience in a dialogue on next steps towards setting robust, meaningful net zero targets in the US. A new Oxford Net Zero report demonstrates that for the first time, a majority of Americans live in a jurisdiction with a net zero emissions target. Furthermore, US companies accounting for at least $5.2 trillion in yearly sales have committed to net zero. But scaling up climate federalism to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement will require coordinated leadership from Washington, DC. Net zero pathways still require alignment along several critical dimensions, as well as tools that will enable subnational actors to connect ambition to action. These four policies federal policies will enable US climate leadership to rise to the challenge of this decisive decade:

  1. Pledge: Pledge to reach net-zero emissions through a legally-binding commitment (first through executive order and then by legislation), accounting for all greenhouse gases, with an interim target of 50% emissions reductions by 2030.
  2. Plan: Produce a national net zero roadmap demonstrating how subnational pledges can consider issues of equity and justice and place constraints on the role of offsets.
  3. Proceed: Align economic recovery spending with long-term climate goals, develop sector-specific net zero strategies and mandate net zero alignment as a condition for federal bailouts.
  4. Publish: Publish an annual national progress report that includes the progress of subnational commitments.

Report authors:

  • Kate Cullen is a PhD Student in the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley and a researcher at the University of Oxford, focusing on net zero policy
  • Kaya Axelsson is the net zero policy engagement fellow at the University of Oxford and a strategic advisor to the global Race to Zero campaign
  • Stephen Lezak is a Gates scholar and PhD Candidate at the University of Cambridge and manages the Oxford Programme on the Sustainable Future of Commodities and Infrastructure
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