"Net Zero carbon" action planning
Why Net Zero?
In order In order to meet the 1.5°C global warming target in the Paris Agreement, and stabilise climate change, CO2 emissions need to fall to zero. A number of countries, including the UK, have made commitments to move to a net zero emissions economy.
Put simply Net Zero means "any emissions of greenhouse gases (CO2 being the most significant) caused by humanity activity must be balanced by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere". We reach net zero when the amount we add is no more than the amount taken away.
How Net Zero?
In many sectors of the economy, technologies exist that can bring emissions to zero. In electricity, it can be done using renewable and nuclear generation. A transport system that runs on electricity or hydrogen, well-insulated homes and industrial processes based on electricity rather than gas can all help to bring sectoral emissions to absolute zero.
However, in industries such as aviation the technological options are limited; in agriculture too, it is highly unlikely that emissions will be brought to zero.
Therefore some emissions from these sectors will likely remain; and in order to offset these, an equivalent amount of CO2 will need to be taken out of the atmosphere - negative emissions. Thus the target becomes "net zero" for the economy as a whole. The term 'carbon neutrality' is also used.
Planning for "Net Zero" in your organisation.
Of course the “net zero” actions you choose will depend very much on your type of organisation and the activities you are involved with.
This list is not exhaustive but your actions may include some or all of these:
- Improving the energy efficiency of your existing buildings
- Electrifying heat
- Ensuring all new buildings are zero-carbon
- Changing the behaviour of building occupants
- Procuring zero-carbon energy
- Investing in renewable energy generation both on - and off- site
- Trading energy with neighbours
- Switching vehicle fleets to low carbon alternatives
- Organising travel plans and policies
- Procurement policies: Steering procurement towards low/zero carbon alternatives
- Switching away from high-carbon suppliers, or service providers (e.g. banks) that support high carbon projects
- (Where applicable) using the Public Sector Social Value Act and Localism Act to underpin procurement decisions
- Helping suppliers to decarbonise their own operations
- Recycle more. This reduces energy consumption by requiring less new products; and using recycled materials to make new products reduces the need for virgin materials.
COLLABORATION AND COLLECTIVE ACTION
- Collaborating with other organisations to achieve economies of scale, aggregate demand and supply, pool and share resources.
- Helping staff decarbonise their travel to work and homes via staff benefits schemes and salary sacrifice schemes.
- Ensuring pensions investments are divested from fossil fuels and actively seeking investment in sustainable businesses and projects.
- Substituting materials for lower carbon and more sustainable alternatives.
Using your own estate to increase biodiversity
Planning for "Net Zero". How we can help.
Eastern New Energy (ENE) has a team of low carbon and climate specialists who can help you with these and other actions. We are available to you (free of charge) to assist with developing, preparing and implementing your own Net Zero Plan.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org