How Countries Are Testing Carbon Restrictions | Net Zero

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    In the science-fiction novel The Ministry for the Future, a devastating heat wave in India kills 20 million people and spurs the creation of a secretive group called the Children of Kali. One of its tactics is to sabotage fossil-fuel powered ships and planes, which forces countries and companies to adopt zero-carbon alternatives to keep the economy ticking.

    In reality, the world’s large militarized nations are unlikely to let such a group operate for very long. But the plot illustrates a point that few have fully grasped: If the world takes the goals of the Paris Agreement seriously, simply advancing clean technologies or scaling negative emissions won’t be enough. In the few decades the world has to reach net-zero emissions, we will have to find ways to keep most of our fossil fuel reserves untouched.

    Even in fiction, violence isn’t anyone’s preferred way to get there. So how would it work in non-fiction? A few recent developments show that countries are starting to test the waters with prohibitions on burning carbon.

    On Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a ban on new fracking by 2024 and pledged to end all oil extraction by 2045, which is the year the state aims to reach net-zero emissions. Denmark stopped giving new licenses for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea and will end production by 2050. Earlier in April, French lawmakers set in motion a bill that would forbid conventional air travel when the journey can be made by train in two and a half hours or less, with exemptions for “decarbonized” flights. French law aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

    These add to larger carbon restrictions announced over the past few years. Most of Europe has agreed to phase out coal power plants. Some European countries and many Californian cities have banned natural-gas connections in new buildings. Many European nations and Canada have set goals to end sales of new fossil-fuel cars before 2050, with Norway aiming for an exit as early as 2025.

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    In This Story: Canada

    Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. It extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles), making it the world’s second-largest country by total area.

    Its southern and western border with the United States, stretching 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world’s longest bi-national land border. Canada’s capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

    Various Indigenous peoples inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years before European colonization. The Canada Act 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British Parliament. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with a monarch and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the Cabinet and head of government.

    As a highly developed country, Canada has the seventeenth-highest nominal per-capita income globally as well as the thirteenth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index. Its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks.

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  • In This Story: Denmark

    Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe.  The capital is Copenhagen. Denmark proper, consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 islands.

    The Kingdom of Denmark comprises Denmark proper and the two autonomous territories in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Home rule was established in the Faroe Islands in 1948; in Greenland home rule was established in 1979 and further autonomy in 2009.

    Denmark has highly developed mixed economy. Denmark became a member of the European Economic Community (now the EU) in 1973, but negotiated certain opt-outs; it retains its own currency, the krone. It is among the founding members of NATO, the Nordic Council, the OECD, OSCE, and the United Nations; it is also part of the Schengen Area. Denmark has close linguistic ties to its Scandinavian neighbours.

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  • In This Story: India

    India, officially the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the second-most populous country, the seventh-largest country by land area, and the most populous democracy in the world. New Delhi is the capital.

    It has an exceptionally diverse population, with Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and other religions speaking over 21 recognised languages.

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  • In This Story: Norway

    Norway is a Scandinavian country encompassing mountains, glaciers and deep coastal fjords. Oslo, the capital, is a city of green spaces and museums. Preserved 9th-century Viking ships are displayed at Oslo’s Viking Ship Museum. Bergen, with colorful wooden houses, is the starting point for cruises to the dramatic Sognefjord. Norway is also known for fishing, hiking and skiing, notably at Lillehammer’s Olympic resort. 

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