Denmark: Target date: 2050

The government set out plans in 2018 to build a “climate-neutral society” by 2050. Its package included a ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 and support for electric vehicles. Climate change was a major theme in June 2019 parliamentary elections and the victorious “red bloc” parties enshrined tougher emissions targets in legislation passed six months later.

France; Target date: 2050

French lawmakers voted a net zero target into law on 27 June 2019, the same day as the UK. Other parts of the government’s proposed climate and energy package remained to be agreed. Controversially, it proposed postponing nuclear power plant closures. In its first report in June, the newly established High Council for the Climate advised France must triple the pace of emissions reductions to meet the carbon neutrality goal.

Germany; Target date: 2045

Germany enshrined its 2045 net zero target in law in June 2021, after raising its climate ambition following a landmark court ruling the previous month. The cabinet adopted a 65% emissions reduction by 2030, 85-90% by 2040 and net zero emissions by 2045, all compared to 1990 levels. The previous targets were 55% by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050. To achieve the goals, analysts say Germany must phase out coal by 2030, speed up the transition to electric mobility and increase the carbon price on transport and heating fuel.

Hungary; Target date: 2050

Hungary committed to climate neutrality by 2050 in a 3-page climate law passed in June 2020. That was not backed up by a strengthened 2030 emissions-cutting target, however, putting off the heavy lifting to next decade. The country is set to close its last coal power plant by 2025 and build new nuclear capacity, with Russia’s help.

Ireland; Target date: 2050

Ireland’s coalition government passed its climate law in July 2021 that enshrines emissions reduction targets in law and puts the country on a path to carbon neutrality by 2050. The government agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by an average 7% per year and 51% between 2018 and 2030, in line with Paris Agreement commitments. Sectors such as transport and agriculture will require significant reform if they are to halve their emissions by 2030.

Spain; Target date: 2050

The government presented its draft climate framework bill to parliament in May 2020, as the country started to loosen restrictions on movement to halt the spread of coronavirus. Originally intended to create a long term framework for cutting emissions, the law doubles as a blueprint for economic recovery from Covid-19. It sets interim targets for 2030, establishes a commission to monitor progress and bans new coal, oil and gas exploration licences with immediate effect.

Sweden; Target date: 2045

Sweden legislated its net zero target in 2017, bringing forward its timeline for carbon neutrality by five years in response to the Paris Agreement.  At least 85% of the emissions cuts are to be achieved through domestic policies, leaving the door open for international credits to make up the rest.

United Kingdom; Target date: 2050

The UK already passed a framework law for cutting emissions in 2008, so setting a net zero target is as simple as replacing 80% with 100%. Parliament passed the amendment on 27 June 2019. Meeting the goal is tougher and the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has emphasized more policies will be needed across sectors to give it life.

Scotland’s devolved parliament is working on a bill to reach net zero in 2045, based on its strong renewable energy resources and capacity to store CO2 in depleted North Sea oilfields. It is expected to pass into law by autumn 2019.

The CCC advised Wales would have a harder job and 95% emissions cuts by 2050 was feasible. The Welsh government accepted the recommendations and expressed an ambition to go further to net zero.


Austria: Target date: 2040

A coalition government sworn in January 2020 promised to pursue climate neutrality by 2040 and 100% clean electricity by 2030, underpinned by binding carbon targets. The right wing People’s Party agreed to the goals in partnership with the Green Party.

Finland: Target date: 2035

Five political parties agreed in June 2019 to strengthen the country’s climate law, as part of negotiations to form a government. The target is expected to require curbs on industrial logging and a phaseout of peat burning for power generation.

Iceland; Target date: 2040

The strategy unveiled in 2018 focuses on phasing fossil fuels out of the transport sector, tree-planting and restoring wetlands. Iceland already has virtually carbon-free electricity and heating from geothermal and hydroelectric sources.

Norway:Target date: 2030/2050

Norway was among the first parliaments in the world to discuss climate neutrality, with lawmakers agreeing to aim for 2050 domestically and 2030 with international 2030 offsets. This was a signal of intent, not a binding climate law. The country benefits from abundant hydropower resources and has aggressive policies to electrify road transport, yet the government continues to back controversial Arctic oil drilling.

Portugal: Target date: 2050

Portugal launched a roadmap in December 2018 for getting to net zero, outlining strategies for energy, transport, waste, farming and forests. It is one of the member states calling for the EU to adopt a 2050 net zero target.

Slovakia: Target date: 2050

One of the first EU member states to formally submit a long term strategy to the UN, Slovakia said it was aiming for “climate neutrality” in 2050. However the document focused on policies out to 2030 and noted further measures would need to be developed to meet the target


European Union: Target date: 2050

The European Commission is working towards a bloc-wide 2050 net zero emissions target, under a “Green Deal” published in December 2019. It was endorsed by the European Council of national leaders the same month, with Poland the only dissenting voice, refusing to commit to its implementation. The long term strategy was presented to the UN in March 2020.

Switzerland: Target date: 2050

In its national submission to the UN in December 2020, Switzerland announced its intention to reach net zero emissions by 2050, deepening its target under the Paris Agreement of a 70-85% emission reduction. In 2015, the small land-locked country was the first in the world to submit its formal emissions reduction plan for 2030 to the UN. The country’s climate strategy includes developing technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the air – the mountainous country hosts some of the most advanced projects in this field – and investing in renewables.



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