Net zero is something that you will constantly read about in the news, but what does it actually mean? It is common knowledge that net zero is about reducing environmental impact and protecting the planet, but not everyone knows how this works and how it will be achieved. This post will tell you all that you need to know about net zero and what you can to do contribute.
Net Zero Defined
So, what exactly is net zero? Essentially, this is a goal of creating the perfect balance between greenhouse gas emissions and the amount removed from the atmosphere. Society would never be able to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, but when the amount added is no more than the amount removed, the impact will be minimized. The UK has a legally binding target of being net zero by 2050 and we were the first major economy to set this target (most counties have since followed suit).
2050 was a target established by scientists and experts from around the world. It was agreed that reaching net zero by 2050 is the best change that society has to tackle climate change and global warming before it is too late. It is hoped that this would prevent global temperatures from exceeding a 1.5 degrees Celsius rise by 2100, which would be deemed to be “catastrophic”. 2050 is also deemed the earliest realistic timeframe that net zero could be achieved, which shows that it is an ambitious yet incredibly important target.
Energy Efficiency is Key
Reaching net zero will be challenging because so many industries produce harmful emissions, and it is too complex and/or expensive to cut emissions altogether. It is said that energy efficiency can contribute up to 40% of the reductions in emissions needed to reach the net zero by 2050 target, so there is a huge push for businesses and individuals to improve energy efficiency. This means that there will be a lot of work for solar panel and air source heat pump installation in the coming years as decarbonizing homes and properties will play a major role in reaching the target. Additionally, this will also help people to reduce their energy bills, which is something that many are looking to do right now.
Net zero is a hugely important target that the entire world needs to work towards. It is clear that now is the time for urgent action and positive steps need to be taken in order to achieve this ambitious target by 2050. There have been positive steps taken in recent times, but a lot more needs to be done and every individual and business needs to play their part in reducing emissions, improving energy efficiency, and leading a more sustainable lifestyle.
“Net zero” is about stopping the net emission of fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. It is not about reducing or stopping the net emissions of non-fossil CO2, because non-fossil CO2 emissions are part of the short term cycle of atmospheric CO2 having first been removed from the atmosphere by plants in growing, of which many will be consumed by animals (including humans) in growing with their final waste products breaking down into biomethane which is released back into the air to be a powerful greenhouse gas for around 9 years, until broken down by sunlight into CO2 to complete the cycle.
Some fossil CO2 is release in the manufacture of cement when limestone (calcium carbonate) is first roasted. This fossil CO2 needs to be captured and stored with a carbon capture and storage process (CCUS) to offset this release of fossil CO2 from cement manufacture.