Sustainable business—decarbonisation and net zero
Produced in partnership with Libby Robinson of RSK

The following Environment practice note produced in partnership with Libby Robinson of RSK provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Sustainable business—decarbonisation and net zero
  • Climate change and the global need for net zero
  • Net zero—definition
  • Business need for net zero
  • Opportunities
  • Risks
  • Overview of risks and opportunities (modified from GHG Protocol)
  • How to assess a carbon footprint
  • Emission scopes
  • Assessing emissions
  • More...

Sustainable business—decarbonisation and net zero

Climate change and the global need for net zero

A warming climate poses many risks. The world is already 1°C warmer than pre-industrial levels, and we are experiencing extreme and unpredictable weather events attributed to this changing climate. A warming of 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels would significantly increase the risk of floods, drought, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people, alongside decreased biodiversity and species extinctions within the natural world.

The Paris Agreement set out a global framework to limit global warming to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. Numerous climate scenarios investigate differing socio-economic pathways to achieve this goal. The most cited all require the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, coupled with GHG removal strategies, to achieve overall net zero GHG emissions at least by the end of this century, if not by 2050.

The UK, through its section 1 of the Climate Change Act 2008 and the EU, through the Climate Neutrality Regulation (EU) 2021/1119, have committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, with interim targets on the path to 2050.

For more information, see Practice Notes:

  1. Climate change—emissions targets, carbon budgets and net zero

  2. The Paris Agreement 2015—snapshot

  3. The Climate neutrality regulation (EU)—snapshot

Aligned with the UN’s Sustainable

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