In 2019 the UK government became the first major economy to commit to bringing greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050. While this target represents huge challenge for the country it is also essential if Britain is to play its part in helping to ensure that future generations to do not face a survival-threatening climate catastrophe.
All sectors, industries and parts of society will be required to play a role in bringing down carbon emissions. This will include investment in reducing energy consumption and adopting green technological solutions.
In business, organisations will also be expected to ‘offset’ carbon emissions where it is not currently possible to avoid the consumption of fossil fuels – in some industrial processes, for example.
Why does 2020 need to be the turning point
According to leading scientists, 2020 must be the peak year for global emissions. Or, to put it differently, emissions must reduce significantly every year from 2021 in order for the world to stand a chance of limiting the rise in global temperatures. It is widely accepted that if global temperatures increase by more than 2º Celsius, the impact of melting icecaps, rising sea levels and broader climate change will be irreversible.
What will it take to become carbon neutral by 2050
There are three main ways we can achieve carbon neutrality by 2050:
1. Moving towards 100% renewable energy An expansion of solar, wind and hydro electricity initiatives will remove our reliance on fossil fuels.
2. Increased energy efficiency Utilising low energy technologies and improving insulation will also be required between now and 2050 to reduce energy demand.
3. Negative emission initiatives Initiatives based around bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) can be utilised to achieve negative carbon dioxide emissions by combining biomass use with geologic carbon capture and storage (CCS).
What about the rest of the world?
While there are several other nations that have been slow to respond to the climate crisis, and others (namely, the USA) that currently follow a policy of denial, there are many international examples of carbon neutral initiatives.
Norway – aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 Sweden – targeting carbon neutrality by 2045, with a 15% offset limit. This target excludes aviation and shipping industries. Denmark – planning to achieve a “low carbon society” by 2050
All countries within the European Union are currently preparing their own commitments to carbon neutrality by 2050, while the Paris Agreement broadly seeks to drive all countries in the United Nations to take a strong stance on climate change.
How can UK businesses help the country to reach carbon neutrality
The time to take steps towards a lower carbon footprint is now. British businesses have a responsibility to help drive change and take the necessary steps to become a greener organisation.
- Implementing low energy measures within your business can actually help to increase profitability
- It is likely that funding will be available in the form of grants to support the green revolution over the coming years, helping to make carbon neutrality more cost effective
- Being proactive now will help to avoid fines when legislation is tightened and carbon emissions are penalised more heavily in the future
- Your reputation with employees and customers will be enhanced as you demonstrate a willingness to act on your moral duty
If you understand that energy efficiency and the pursuit of becoming carbon neutral needs to be a consideration within your organisation but you don’t know where to start, give us a call. A chat with one of our energy consultants can be the first step towards making meaningful changes that both save your business money and contribute towards sustainability.
Call today on 0191 691 1802