Net Zero 101: What, Why and How


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Climate change

Self-paced courses

1,5 hours

With certification


“Net Zero 101: What, Why and How” is a free and self-paced e-learning course that provides a foundational understanding of climate change, the science behind it, and its impacts, while showcasing actionable steps one can take as a responsible citizen to contribute to climate action and achieve a net-zero society.

Welcome to the Net Zero 101: What, Why and How e-course!

Have you ever heard about “net zero”? From governments to companies, net zero has often been mentioned as an important climate goal. But what does this concept really mean? 

Understanding net zero requires understanding many climate science terminologies, and this course breaks down the science in easy-to-understand terms. Throughout the course you will be provided with practical tips to contribute to climate action. By the end you will gain a solid foundation in the science behind climate change and net zero. 

What will you learn?

After completing the course, you will be able to:

  • Define what anthropogenic climate change is and link it with the concept of net zero. 
  • Identify UN organizations, key milestones and international treaties relevant to climate action. 
  • Analyze the environmental and socio-economic impacts of climate change. Explain the importance of a whole-of-society approach and the roles of different actors in achieving net zero. 
  • Describe the importance of contextualized measures to achieve net zero and determine sustainable and practical ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint. 
  • Select the most effective and viable renewable energy solutions considering their cost-effectiveness and sustainability given different contexts.

Course at a glance:

This self-paced course consists of three easy-to-follow short modules, comprising an online lesson and a quiz. Each module takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on how in-depth learners explore them.

Module 1: What is Net Zero?
Module 2: Why Net Zero? 
Module 3: How to Net Zero?

Who is this course for?

This e-course caters to anyone who wishes to develop a foundational level of understanding on the basic sciences behind climate change, its environmental, social and economic impacts, and actions we can take as responsible citizens to achieve a net-zero society. You do not need a technical background in climate science to complete the course. The course is conducted in English only. 


You will receive a certificate of completion from UNU-IAS once all of the following conditions have been met:

  • Complete the three online lessons; and
  • Score at least 75% on the quiz of each module.

Net Zero 101: What, Why and How was developed by the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) through the support of the Ministry of Environment, Government of Japan, and the Korea Environment Corporation, Government of Republic of Korea. The course is affiliated by UN CC:Learn through the UN CC:Learn Affiliation programme.

UNU-IAS logo.

UN CC:Learn Affiliation Programme

The course is made available on UN CC:e-Learn through the new UN CC:Learn affiliation programme, which highlights high-quality e-learning products on climate change developed by recognised institutions outside the framework of the UN CC:Learn programme / without support from the UN CC:Learn Secretariat, in accordance with specific affiliation criteria. The objective of the UN CC:Learn affiliation programme is to enhance global climate literacy through dissemination of high-level learning products that complement UN CC:Learn resources.