Net Zero’ means achieving a balance between the amount of emissions produced and those removed from the atmosphere in order to reduce global warming. Industry uses the terms ‘Net Zero’, this means offsetting the energy used onsite through other means.
So, for example, if a project consumes 250,000 KBTU of electricity and 250,000 KBTU of natural gas it would need to produce 500,000 kBTU of onsite renewable energy in order to achieve net zero. Science has shown that human production of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, determines the overall extent of global warming.
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Reducing these greenhouse gas emissions is key in preventing catastrophic climate change. As a result, governments across the world have agreed to try and achieve net zero emissions by 2050 as part of the Paris Agreement, which was signed in 2016.
The UK become the first major economy to set a goal of being net zero by 2050 and gives the world an even chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5° C. The US, EU, UK and Japan have all committed to net zero emissions by 2050, and China has committed to net zero by 2060.
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The important thing to remember is that net zero targets mean little without a concrete plan to cut emissions this decade. The lion’s share of emissions cuts need to occur this decade if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.