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Benjamin K. Sovacool
Dylan Furszyfer Del Rio
University of Sussex
Reaching ‘net zero’ for climate change is one of the most salient technological, economic and political challenges of the modern era. To better comprehend the drivers, barriers, and justice issues for deep low-carbon transitions, this research investigates the decarbonisation efforts of the first eight countries that achieved national net-zero transitions over the last two decades: Bhutan, Suriname, Panama, Guyana, Comoros, Gabon, Madagascar, and Niue. Using a method combining literature review and thematic analysis, this research extends beyond the overstudied WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democracies) countries to provide fresh empirical insights into real-world energy policy strategies by examining these pioneering eight nations.
The findings reveal that all eight countries used similar policies related to land use, renewable energy, and waste management. Common obstacles included vulnerability to extreme climate events and ecosystem degradation. Furthermore, the research addresses equity issues in relation to decarbonisation foregrounding how achieving net-zero emissions had positive effects on marginalised communities, reducing inequalities and improving health, especially in low-income areas.