What is the difference between Net Zero and Carbon Neutral?

Understanding carbon language is all about balancing the scales: of the emissions produced and what we can do to mitigate them. Decision-makers in the travel sector can define and achieve their carbon targets by understanding carbon balance and utilizing the correct terminology.

According to the IPCC, the UN agency in charge of climate science, all of these phrases have various definitions. Companies, on the other hand, frequently employ them interchangeably without usually indicating their intended use. As a result, their climate pledges differ greatly. It’s difficult to tell the difference between actual climate action (in line with the Paris Agreement) and so-called “greenwashing.”

Companies have a responsibility to express their commitments in a clear and concise manner. To be sound, sustainability action should be clearly quantified, documented, and audited in all of its dimensions. This not only protects you against accusations of greenwashing, but it also shows that you’re serious about your responsibilities and gives you a chance to stand out among your peers. Some commonly used terms and their definitions are shown below.

As we gain a better awareness of the climate catastrophe and learn more about the consequences for ourselves, the environment, business, industry, and the economy, a desire to not only decrease carbon but to be seen lowering carbon grows.

“Carbon neutral” and “net zero carbon” are two seemingly similar words that are frequently used. The two, however, are not the same. A policy of not growing carbon emissions and achieving carbon reduction through offsets is referred to as carbon neutral. While net zero carbon refers to implementing changes to reduce carbon emissions to the smallest possible level – with offsets as a last option. After all viable reduction strategies have been performed, the offsetting is used to offset the essential emissions that remain.

Carbon offsetting reduces CO2 from the environment in both scenarios. That removal must be permanent and accredited or licensed in order to count. Projects can provide a variety of advantages. Offset projects can be chosen to provide social and community benefits in addition to decreasing carbon emissions.

Projects can range from local tree planting to sponsoring projects that help developing-country people lessen their reliance on fossil fuels. Afforestation, replanting, and conservation are examples. Alternative investments in programs that minimize greenhouse gas emissions, such as livestock feed that reduces cow methane output, are also available.

Other programs boost biodiversity, soil quality, food production, or rainwater absorption, among other things. Soil is a large store of carbon, holding three times as much as the atmosphere – and the importance of soil quality has frequently been underestimated – thus projects that increase soil quality are especially relevant to global warming and climate change. Crop failure is a key negative impact of climate change, destroying communities and causing migration, thus the benefits of food production are also relevant.

Carbon offset schemes are available that are marketed on the basis of an arbitrary average carbon footprint rather than a measured footprint. The danger with them is that they provide the allure of a simple-to-purchase choice that does not only exclude any emission reductions, but also may fail to meet adequate offset to address the problem of climate change. These are promoted on the premise that calculating your carbon footprint accurately can be costly, time-consuming, and difficult, but this does not have to be the case.

Emission reductions are always a part of net zero carbon pledges. This necessitates the first assessment of one’s carbon impact. The development of renewable energy solutions, followed by carbon offsetting, is subsequently followed by targeted greenhouse gas emission reduction activities.

All of these can be obtained through the correct carbon reduction service. Furthermore, they may assist you in meeting your net zero goal by providing continual monitoring of the projects’ success as well as developing technology for additional emission reduction options. These could be in the form of technology, alternative energy sources, internal opportunities resulting from process changes, or collaborative chances with your supply chain.

Local business partners, such as neighboring manufacturing plants, may present chances to trade wasted processed heat or reuse or repurpose materials. Could your carbon cardboard waste, for example, be shredded and utilized as packaging material, or waste heat from your processes be used to heat their water or offices? The choice is yours.

Check out my related post: What is Blue Carbon?


Interesting reads:

https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/energy-explained/carbon-neutral-vs-net-zero-understanding-difference

https://www.icf.com/insights/environment/net-zero-carbon-versus-carbon-neutral

https://medium.com/cleantech-rising/whats-the-difference-between-carbon-neutral-zero-carbon-and-negative-emissions-baa83c76fc8d

https://www.sustainabase.com/blog/whatisthedifference-netzero-carbonneutral

https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/understanding-the-difference-between-carbon-net-zero-and-carbon-neutral-is-critical-12-08-2021/

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/other/explaining-the-difference-between-net-zero-and-carbon-neutrality-is-a-challenge-says-the-carbon-trust/ar-AALjIlv

https://www.cnet.com/home/energy-and-utilities/carbon-neutral-vs-carbon-negative-whats-the-difference/

https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/policy-regulation/difference-between-net-zero-and-carbon-neutral-policies/

https://www.mycwt.com/news/blog/net-zero-carbon-neutral-or-climate-neutral-a-guide-to-carbon-jargon/

https://www.edie.net/partner-content/what-is-the-difference-between-net-zero-and-carbon-neutral/

https://www.orange.com/en/net-zero-carbon-vs-carbon-neutral-whats-difference

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