A look at the pursuit of Net Zero emissions on World Environment Day

A look at the pursuit of Net Zero emissions on World Environment Day

As we celebrate World Environment Day, it’s important to examine the efforts made by businesses and governments toward achieving Net Zero targets. Collectively businesses and governments are responsible for increasing carbon emissions. Net Zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere and the amount removed or offset. In other words, it’s the point where emissions are effectively cancelled out, resulting in no net impact on the climate.

What Is Net Zero?

Net Zero is an ambitious goal that aims to address climate change by reducing emissions to the lowest possible level and offsetting any remaining emissions through carbon removal techniques. At present, the Earth is already about 1.1°C warmer than it was in the late 1800s, and carbon emissions continue to rise and threaten human existence. To keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C – as called for in the Paris Agreement – emissions need to be cut to 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Achieving Net Zero involves a multifaceted approach:

  1. Emission Reductions: Businesses and governments must actively reduce their carbon footprint. This includes transitioning to renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency, and adopting sustainable practices across sectors.
  2. Carbon Offsetting: When direct emissions cannot be eliminated entirely, organizations can invest in projects that remove or offset an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These projects may involve reforestation, carbon capture and storage, or renewable energy initiatives.

Business and Government Efforts

Business Sector:

  • Many companies have committed to Net Zero targets. However, a recent review by the UK government highlights that these efforts are not always sufficient.
  • Smaller businesses often face challenges in accessing support for decarbonization. Existing provisions are often small-scale, piecemeal, and poorly evaluated.
  • To truly achieve Net Zero, businesses must go beyond token gestures and embrace systemic changes. This includes supply chain sustainability, circular economy practices, and transparent reporting.

Government Initiatives:

  • The UK government’s Net Zero Strategy outlines a pathway to reach Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. However, external factors like the Russian invasion of Ukraine have altered the economic landscape, putting pressure on households and businesses.
  • The independent review of the UK’s approach to Net Zero emphasizes the need to balance economic opportunities with the transition. It ensures that the target doesn’t burden businesses or consumers disproportionately.
  • Governments worldwide must strengthen policies, invest in clean infrastructure, and collaborate internationally to accelerate Net Zero efforts.

Net Zero Is an Arduous Task:

In conclusion, while businesses and governments have taken steps toward Net Zero, the urgency of the climate crisis demands more robust action. Let World Environment Day serve as a reminder that our collective efforts must intensify to secure a sustainable future for generations to come.


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