What does it mean to have Net Zero Emissions?
Net zero emissions refers to achieving a balance between the total amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) released into the atmosphere and the total amount removed from it. This equilibrium can be attained through various approaches, including emission reductions, carbon capture and storage, and the expansion of forested areas.
What are the advantages of Net Zero emissions?
According to Ian Hopping, Senior Energy and Carbon Consultant at Auditel, the advantages of net zero emissions are plentiful:
“Not only would it put a stop to climate change, but it would also yield positive outcomes for public health, employment opportunities, and economic growth. Given the pressing need to combat climate change, implementing net zero emissions becomes an essential and decisive stride in the right direction.”
The most prevalent means of attaining net zero is by reducing overall emissions. This can be accomplished through measures like enhancing energy efficiency, adopting renewable energy sources, and promoting low-carbon transportation. By diminishing the volume of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, we gradually approach the goal of achieving net zero.
What methods can be used to reach Net Zero?
Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) represents another viable pathway towards net zero emissions. CCS involves capturing carbon dioxide emitted by sources such as power plants and factories, and subsequently storing it in underground facilities.
Another emerging technique is Carbon dioxide capture and utilisation (CCU), which involves capturing the carbon dioxide and incorporating it into specific production processes. Both of these methods effectively prevent the gas from entering the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.
Expanding forested areas serves as an additional strategy for reducing carbon in the atmosphere. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air as they grow, thus counteracting greenhouse gas emissions. By fostering sustainable, mature, and long-term forest cover, we can diminish the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and contribute to the objectives of net zero.
Why is Net Zero Emissions important?
Achieving net zero holds immense significance. This is because it stands among the most effective measures to address climate change by mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately combating global warming. While reducing greenhouse gas emissions is undeniably crucial, it is essential to recognise that this alone is insufficient. The ultimate objective is to achieve equilibrium, reinstating the global climate to its pre-climate change state and restoring the delicate balance.
What is the difference between Gross Zero and Net Zero Emissions?
Ian Hopping explains:
“Zero or gross zero is completely halting all greenhouse gas emissions. However given the complexity and diversity of modern industries, this is not realistically achievable across all sectors.
Net zero, on the other hand, takes into account the entirety of emissions and accommodates the removal of any unavoidable emissions. This includes emissions generated during manufacturing processes and transportation, which may be challenging to eliminate completely. The focus is on achieving a balance between the emissions released and those removed, rather than striving for an absolute elimination of all emissions.”
Want to learn more about starting your journey to Net Zero?
If you are a construction business interested in finding out more about steering your business towards Net Zero Emissions, we are holding a lunch event with Ian Hopping, Senior Energy and Carbon Consultant at Auditel, on Friday 16th June. Full details can be found here.