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COP26: What is the world doing about climate change?

Building Automation
12 February 2021

More than 100 countries have committed to reaching net-zero emissions. In the second of our series of blogs covering the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) we take a look at the climate commitments being made by the world’s leading, and most polluting, countries.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom was the first major economy to commit in law to net zero by 2050. A week before COP26, the United Kingdom Government announced its long awaited Net Zero Strategy. It sets out a comprehensive plan for how British businesses and consumers will be supported in making the transition to clean energy and green technology – lowering the Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels by investing in sustainable clean energy. The commitments made will unlock up to £90 billion of private investment by 2030, and support 440,000 well-paid jobs in green industries in 2030.

United States of America

The United States of America re-joined the Paris Agreement in 2021. It has committed to reaching net zero by 2050 as well as reducing carbon emissions by 50 to 52% by 2030. The target more than doubles the country’s prior commitment under the 2015 Paris Agreement.


Sweden’s target of becoming net zero by 2045 is the earliest commitment to be enshrined in law. Based on current population forecasts for Sweden, this means that emissions in Sweden will be less than one tonne per person by 2045. The country aims to make its transport sector free of fossil fuels by 2030. It is also a pioneer for the decarbonisation of industry through a research project which aims to make steel without using fossil fuels.


China accounts for an estimated 25% of global emissions and has pledged to deliver net zero before 2060. It has promised that fossil fuels will form less than 20% of its energy mix by this date, and clean energy will account for 20% of its energy by 2025.

Saudi Arabia

The world’s biggest exporter of oil has committed to cutting its carbon emissions to net zero by 2060. The Gulf state will invest more than £130bn to reach the goal and pledged to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030. Reaching the target will be achieved through a ‘carbon circular economy’ promoting “reduce, reuse, recycle and remove”.

Carbon capture technologies will be heart of its strategy. The announcement was made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the start of Saudi Arabia’s first Saudi Green Initiative Forum. Additional initiatives include planting 450 million trees, reducing carbon emissions by more than 270 million tons a year and seeking to turn the Riyadh into a more sustainable capital.


A leading supplier of coal and gas, Australia has pledged to achieve net zero by 2050. A Technology Investment Roadmap is the cornerstone of its plans, and prioritising technologies that will help Australia cut emissions whilst continuing to serve its traditional markets. It will invest more than £11 billion to reduce carbon emissions but has not set any ambitious carbon reduction targets for 2030. Australia’s emissions are among the highest in the world on a per capita basis. No modelling to underpin the net zero plan has been released, and the Government is keeping details of the package a secret. However, like Saudi Arabia, the plan does not include ending the countries fossil fuel sectors.

The Netherlands

To combat climate change, the Dutch government wants to reduce the Netherlands’ greenhouse gas emissions by 49% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and a 95% reduction by 2050. However, this target is still under discussion according to the latest data from the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit.

Two countries have already achieved carbon negativity – absorbing more greenhouse gases than they admit: Bhutan and Suriname.

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