Governments are lining up to set new climate targets for the middle of the century. This week Japan said that it would eliminate all greenhouse gases (see article). In the past month or so China and South Korea have declared that their economies will be carbon-neutral, meaning that they will put no more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than they take out. In March the European Union unveiled a “net-zero” plan of its own. Britain and France have enshrined their targets into law. A victory next week for Joe Biden could put America on a similar path. Targets are easier set than met. Today around 85% of the world’s industrial energy comes from fossil fuels. Getting consumption to near zero will involve enormous economic shifts. It will require huge changes in how energy is generated and used. And it will also require a sustained barrage of innovations to improve how steel or cement are made, say, or how buildings are designed and managed.
Economist 31st Oct 2020 read more »