There is a word, Utsukushii, (oot-su-koo-she). It is a dedicated adjective that means ‘Beautiful’ in Japanese. Utsukushii is a powerful word to describe beauty. It describes both people and places, focusing on their inner and outer beauty. As we explore and understand the global “Net Zero” agenda, we can proudly say: Utsukushii, (oot-su-koo-she). Its beautiful. Is this big ambition achievable?

The United Nations Global Roadmap sets out milestones the world must reach to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

2025 milestones. Image: UN SDG7 Global Roadmap

The global, national, and corporate efforts and the examples by no means suggest we are getting closer to net zero.

In developed economies around the world, it all aims to do more with less. It unlocks the power of technology and circularity to make the most of the existing resources and limit their impact on constraint natural resources. 

The road ahead is sure to be steep and long. Before we think bigger, some cracks in programs currently need smoothing out. A lot of these efforts are underpinned by regulatory issues that are fragmented. There is a need for consolidated regulations to ease the path forward.

In developing economies, weak infrastructure, high levels of perceived corruption, and bloated bureaucracy are among the manifold reasons behind the chronically low pace of progress toward meeting Net Zero.

With a focused approach, proponents of the sustainability agenda strongly believe that in the near future there is a strong chance of success. The local programs will integrate with global programs, which is a big opportunity for anything that supports going green. The regulations coming up in Europe and the USA have typically provided the green elites with good reasons to uphold their beliefs.

As we navigate the new decade starting in 2020, no one expected this many changes in the sustainability drive in such a short time. Globally, nations are releasing their sustainability vision, and the world is experiencing even deeper changes. The ambition is certainly there. In fact, leaders globally are willing to close the gap very rapidly.

The young population globally needs to be engaged. The policies and their harmonizations can boost efforts, drive investments, and value-add on a massive scale. There are a lot of practical hurdles that can slow down and abort the efforts. How to overcome and achieve is best encapsulated in highly transformative and ambitious endeavors that are enormous in scale. How far can we push the boundaries between reality and futuristic fantasy? Hanging between past and future, the present is one of many contradictions. And yet, the world is picking up initiatives that signal a radical shift from the past. Any serious commitment to transition is an existential threat to some industries. And yet sustainability and net zero are mantras trending, with global leaders remaining committed.

There is no form of dissent from any nation on the Net Zero Agenda. The difference is already like night and day. However, there is much ground left to cover, and we can all take only a “wait and watch” approach to Net Zero realization within the timelines set. If only the leaders stood accountable and decided that the Net Zero was a one-way journey to save the planet with no turning back and a more Japanese attitude to have an Utsukushii (oot-su-koo-she) moment for all involved.


Share This Post