In this Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-IDDRI report, the authors search the academic literature and reports from international government agencies and think tanks to provide a list of 15 transformations that countries can consider using to reach net-zero emissions, benefits that are associated with them, barriers to their implementation, and a set of policies that governments can use to lift these barriers in each sector and enable the transitions.

The report's six sections on electricity, transport, agriculture, forestry and land use, buildings, industry, and waste each include one or more key transformations to reduce GHG emissions towards net zero. Each transformation starts with the definition of a vision statement describing its aspired goal. It then describes the changes necessary to achieve this vision, which benefits could come with implementing the vision, which barriers are to be considered, and which policies may effectively reduce these barriers.

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Getting to net-zero emissions is necessary to limit global warming to well under 2 °C and towards 1.5 °C, which are the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. More than 50 countries globally have set targets to reach net-zero emissions, typically by 2050, and most others are working on similar goals. Achieving these targets requires transformations in the electricity, transport, agriculture, land-use, buildings, industry, and waste-management sectors. While solutions exist to transition to a carbon-neutral economy, including both technology and behavioral changes, which often come with economic, social, or development benefits, many barriers prevent their uptake. We compile evidence from the academic and gray literature to identify 15 sectoral transformations that allow the achievement of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. We then list barriers that prevent their uptake, such as hurdles related to infrastructure, regulations, public and private finances, information, and political economy issues. Finally, we provide more than 50 examples of sector-level government interventions that can lift these barriers, such as building infrastructure, reforming regulations and subsidies, providing information and capacity building, and managing distributional impacts. Governments can use this information to inform the design of comprehensive climate strategies that translate the long-term net-zero emission goal into a roadmap of required transformations in each sector, and then work on designing and implementing government interventions at the national, regional, or local levels to enable them.