Net Zero Observatory

The Net Zero Observatory (NZO) designs strategies to accelerate industry action and community support for rapid decarbonisation.

The Net Zero Observatory:

  • Takes a science-based approach to examine the climate transition challenge.

  • Designs interventions to overcome climate transition bottlenecks.

  • Disseminates knowledge to progress the path to net zero through partnerships with industry, government, not-for-profits and community groups.

Our mission is to promote action in Australia on the most significant challenge of our time - achieving a just and accelerated transition.

Promoting acceptance of technological pathways that facilitate decarbonisation

Successful transition to a low-carbon society requires open-mindedness to a range of technological solutions. A key agenda of NZO is to remain ahead of the curve in understanding and overcoming community resistance toward technologies designed to facilitate decarbonisation. We identify community sensitivity toward climate-relevant technologies, with an eye to creating communication strategies that enable positive change.

Maintaining social cohesion on the road to 2050

Historically, Australia’s pathway to managing climate change has been slowed by social cleavages and polarisation. This program will diagnose existing and future intergroup conflicts, and design interventions that are scalable and actionable. Doing so helps ensure that Australians are pulling together as we move to decarbonise the economy.

Maintaining Australians' commitment to change

This program draws on a rapidly evolving frontier of research on people’s cost-benefit analyses about climate change. Secondary analyses of existing surveys and large-scale textual analysis will provide historical insights into when, where and why tolerance for sacrifice has dropped in the face of climate change policies. We use these insights to design interventions that can be scaled up in a way that is effective and cost-efficient in real-world environments.

Achieving meaningful corporate climate reporting - beyond greenwashing and greenhushing

With recent global developments towards standardising climate reporting from the ISSB, it is timely to consider what constitutes best practice in transparent reporting and climate management. This project will examine key components of climate reporting against global best practices. Summary reports will be produced and where clear gaps in knowledge or methods exist this project will address these deficiencies.

Measuring and monitoring corporations' progress to net zero targets

This project will assess companies’ actions against Paris Compliant Pathways, and develop tools to share this information openly and transparently. The goal is to deter misleading corporate climate pledges and systematise the assessment of companies' climate performance using a science-based approach. This will bolster businesses’ climate action by outlining meaningful and effective decarbonisation pathways. It will allow all stakeholders to make climate-safe decisions, and guide policy makers to enforce the required changes for any business to become Paris-compliant.

Climate change executive education and training

We work with companies to upskill employees on climate change issues and their management. The NZO team, in collaboration with other experts across UQ, has designed a series of climate change courses, workshops and seminars to assist companies to develop the skills to transition to a net zero world. Courses are available to be delivered across different cohorts from the board and c-suite; to mid-level managers; to a general employee cohort.

The core University of Queensland research team is listed below. The team partners with academics from across UQ, as well as other Australian and international institutions.


 Professor Matthew Hornsey
- ARC Laureate
 Psychological and communication factors underpinning pro-environmental beliefs, attitudes and behaviours.


 Professor Belinda Wade
- Industry Professor
 Practices to accelerate the climate transition.


Key researchers

  • Dr Saphira Rekker - Senior Lecturer in Finance
    Corporate climate performance measurement.
  • Dr Samuel Pearson - Postdoctoral researcher
    Psychological factors underpinning progress to net zero.
  • Dr Sarah MacInnes - Research Officer
  • Dr Christian Bretter - Postdoctoral Researcher (from September 2024)
    Environmental, social and political psychology
  • Ms Aimee Mann - Postdoctoral Researcher (from September 2024)
    Intervention design and evaluation for prosocial behaviours




NZO Monthly Climate Roundup

Venue: UQ St Lucia + online.

The Net Zero Observatory holds a monthly hybrid event where interested individuals can meet to keep up to date on developments in the climate space and hear from guest speakers.

Anyone is welcome to attend, whether researcher, professional staff, industry, government, or community member.

Contact us to join.


Only 57 producers are responsible for 80% of all fossil fuel and cement CO2 emissions since 2016

UQ Business School researcher named ARC Laureate Fellow

Researchers help businesses and financial institutions make the 'rapid switch' towards a zero-carbon future

The election shows the conservative culture war on climate change could be nearing its end

Australian Financial Review (subscription-only content)

Academics unpack carbon metrics and markets 

UniSuper faces customer uprising over climate targets

Super funds failing to disclose climate-related financial risk

Connecting with international academic partners, industry and government is crucial to achieving the NZO ambition to accelerate the climate transition.

For more information, and if you are interested in joining as an NZO partner, get in touch.

NZO partners include:

  • Rapid Switch, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Princeton University

  • Institute for New Economic Thinking, University of Oxford

  • Monash Climate Change Research Hub

  • The Social Identity and Groups Network, UQ

  • The Antipodean Misinformation Research Group

  • UQ Low Harm Hedonism


Contact us

Get in touch to learn more about our research and how you can partner with the Net Zero Observatory.

Professor Matthew Hornsey
ARC Laureate

Professor Belinda Wade
Industry Professor