A new report published by Oxford Net Zero presents a comprehensive ‘stocktake’ of developments in net-zero regulation across the G20 in 2023. It focuses primarily on four regulatory domains: claims and financial products standards, disclosure, procurement, and transition plans.
The report, written by Lucilla Dias, Adriana Elera and Kaya Axelsson, highlights the rapid acceleration in the enactment of net zero regulations by governments as they seek to align economic ‘ground rules’ with the global net zero goal. In fact, regulatory activity in G20 member states has almost quadrupled in size over just four years, encompassing work from both developed and developing nations.
According to the stocktake, as of 2024, a minimum of 77 net zero regulations will be in effect worldwide, covering at least 55% of the global economy. Furthermore, voluntary standards, which have been fundamental in creating and promoting best practices for net zero action, are now being incorporated into mandatory national regulations- with 24 of the 77 mapped net zero regulations making use of standards as benchmarks.
This is significant as regulation around net zero is an influential and practical tool. It can be employed to level the playing field, transform pre-existing voluntary commitments into rules for the economy, and ultimately help reach the emission targets set by the Paris Agreement. The Stocktake therefore allows regulators, companies, researchers, and civil society to better understand the state of regulatory activity around the world. As well as to emphasise the role of regulation in accelerating the implementation of solutions on a global scale.
“While voluntary commitment has driven a wave of ambition, regulation is now required to bring deeper, system-wide acceleration to the climate transition,” said co-author Kaya Axelsson, Head of Policy and Partnerships at Oxford Net Zero and Research Fellow at the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.
“Our analysis reveals the supporting function regulations can provide, building a structure amidst what has been something of a wilderness for well-intentioned but confused landscape of corporate climate action.”
This report is not stand-alone, and will facilitate expanded, systematic tracking and evaluation of net zero regulations. Through the work of the Net Zero Regulation and Policy Hub, further iterations of the Stocktake will explore the quality and scope of regulations in greater depth, as well as how they support countries in their climate transitions.
The report can be accesses via the following link: https://netzeroclimate.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Net-Zero-Regulation-Stocktake-Report-November-2023.pdf
For more information on the Stocktake, a summary and the dataset are available at: Net Zero Regulation Stocktake – Net Zero Climate