Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
David Fickling

Zero Hour Is Coming for Emissions. Believe It

Politicians’ promises to achieve distant and difficult targets attract natural skepticism. Their rhetoric can change reality, though.

Political leaders' decisions shape what’s possible for businesses.

Political leaders' decisions shape what’s possible for businesses.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images 

It’s only natural to be skeptical when a political leader stands up and makes a promise about a target that’s far off, hard to achieve, and lacks a clear pathway.

So one reaction to a report that Japan’s new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, will pledge next week to reduce the country’s net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 might be: Really?