In July, United Nations secretary-general António Guterres said in a speech to Tsinghua University that there was “no excuse” for humanity to fail to limit global warming to 1.5ºC, which means the world must achieve net-zero emissions before 2050, and cut emissions by half by 2030. That speech, and the UN’s Race to Zero campaign, has prompted more than 100 countries and 1,500 companies worth US$11.4 trillion to make net-zero promises. Net zero has replaced carbon neutral as the more popular term.
Talk about how to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by burning less fossil fuels has dominated conversations about how to avert planetary catastrophe, with little thought spared for environmental conservation — until 2020, when the business world started talking more about using natural ecosystems to curb emissions. In Singapore this year, a plan is hatching to use nature-based solutions to lay the foundations for a carbon credits market.
In a year of net-zero targets, carbonomics was used in conversations about the cost of decarbonisation. Popular in environmental, social and governance investing circles, it was used this year by Bloomberg for its Future of Energy show and Goldman Sachs in its The Green Engine of Economic Recovery report.