Last year, climate action was all about declaring dates for achieving net-zero carbon emissions. At the 2021 UN’s climate change conference in Glasgow, COP26, India pledged that it would reach net-zero by 2070, a date just 10 years behind China, despite its per capita emissions being some 30 years behind China’s and only half the present world average. COP27 is just days away, but this year many countries are distracted with energy security issues, instead of upping their game for more aggressive emissions cuts.



Are there developed countries that refused to make any net-zero commitment? Since China made the commitment to meet the net zero goal by 2060, and as called for in the Paris Agreement, emissions need to reach net zero by 2050, I am wondering if every developed country is on board with this or some countries refused to do it.

2 Answers 2


Developed countries without a net-zero target include

  • Norway
  • The Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Bosnia
  • Serbia
  • Macedonia
  • Belarus

Many of these have other plans for CO₂ emission reduction that does not include a net zero plan or pledge. For example Norway has a plan for reductions of 55 per cent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. And an aspiration to transform to a low-emission society by 2050 (a pledge that falls short of "net-zero")

Other countries on my list, such as the Netherlands are bound by EU law, which is for net zero by 2050, so you might remove the Netherlands and Poland from the list on that basis.

Countries with no pledge or plan at all include Bolivia and Paraguay. These have intermediate levels of development.

You may explore the status of different countries at https://zerotracker.net/ There are several key questions to ask of each country. "What is the target?" "When is the target due?" "Is the target enshrined in national law?" "Is there a detailed plan?" "Are there effective reporting mechanisms on the progress towards the target".

  • 3
    Of course, the real question isn’t what the “target” is. The real question is who would actually fulfill it. China will definitely do it thanks to nuclear power, everyone else will likely fail because they’ve refused to embrace nuclear. Sep 16, 2023 at 14:08
  • 4
    @JonathanReez, for any country we (as citizens) can ask what the target is, what progress is being made towards the target, and whether the reporting mechanisms in the country are transparent or not. It's pointless to prognosicate on "who will do it", nor on which plan is most likely to work. It is surely a lot more complex than "embracing nuclear", though nuclear can be a part of net-neutral plan.
    – James K
    Sep 16, 2023 at 14:20
  • @JonathanReez And if that doesn't work, one-child policy for all. Less people = less carbon. Technically, no-people would fulfill no-carbon as well.
    – paulj
    Sep 18, 2023 at 15:39


Are there developed countries that refused to make any net-zero commitment?

I think you would still have to list China among the countries refusing to commit a net-zero policy.

Their statements to conform to Net-Zero by President Xi before 2060 at the U.N. General Assemble Sept 2020 and their subsequent strategy document submitted to the UNFCCC in Oct 2021 only applies to CO2 emissions, not all greenhouse gasses. This along with a collection of other concerns transforms an ambitious productive plan, to the description for a poor effort which does not conform to Kyoto guidelines for Net-Zero conformance.

It was a perfect addendum to the 2010 Chinese pledge made at COP15 in Copenhagen. carbon emissions per unit of GDP would be reduced in 2020 by 40% to 45% with respect to 2005 levels. They would accomplish this by agreeing to not change any of their current practices. They then congratulated themselves on achieving their goals 3 years ahead of schedule in 2018.

The rational for expressing a Net-Zero policy but not really has to do with money and politics.

  • China has positioned itself as a leading manufacturer of green technologies, from electric vehicles to solar panels to wind turbines. It is therefore poised to meet growing global demand for cleaner technologies. Being the leading emitter of green house gasses and Kyoto outlier would be bad for sales. The "Long term plan" submitted allows them to side step this issue.

  • Their accepting Net-Zero publicly was introduced Sep 2020 at the United Nations to deflect criticism over Covid and make the claim it is the US not China which seeks to upend current international systems. (see be low quote)

Chinese UN mission rejects U.S. attack, slander at UNGA general debate

"What the U.S. needs to do now is stop the political manipulation, stop labeling or politicizing the virus, focus on combating the virus at home, and support the UN and the WHO in playing their roles," it noted in the statement. On climate change and environmental protection, China has actively fulfilled international responsibilities compatible with its own stage of development and national conditions, and adopted a host of policies and actions. The outcomes achieved are widely recognized, said the Chinese mission.

China attained its 2020 climate action targets two years ahead of schedule, a major contribution to the global response to climate change. Non-fossil fuels now take up nearly 15 percent in China's total energy consumption. China has 30 percent of the world's installed capacity of renewable energy, accounting for 44 percent of the world increase. Its new energy vehicle stock is more than half the world's total. China has contributed 25 percent to the increased afforestation areas worldwide since 2000, it said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping just announced at the general debate of the UN General Assembly that China will update and enhance its nationally determined contribution targets, introduce stronger policies and measures, and strive for the peaking of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. Such objectives are consistent with China's vision of a vibrant, clean and beautiful world through joint efforts and its commitment to fostering a community with a shared future for humankind, it said.

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