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Since the Paris Agreement, companies are becoming more climate positive by pledging to become carbon neutral and making all kinds of changes in the way they function. While they do, terms like carbon neutral and net-zero are popularly used. So, what exactly is Carbon neutrality or net-zero? Are they different from each other and have a different impact on the environment? In this article, we will discuss these two terms and how they have impacted the environment.
What does Carbon Neutrality Mean?
Being carbon neutral means striking a balance between emission and absorption of carbon from the ecosystem. The process of removing carbon dioxide and storing them is called carbon sequestration. To meet the target of zero emission, the emission of greenhouse must balance with carbon sequestration. When it comes to carbon neutrality, one must be aware of the carbon sink. It is a system through which more carbon is absorbed than is emitted. The natural sinks that are available are forests, oceans, and soil. Based on reports, natural sinks can remove approximately 9.5 and 11 Gt of carbon dioxide every year. It is interesting to note that there are no artificial carbons available for removing carbon from the atmosphere.
Carbon that is stored in the natural sinks gets released into the atmosphere through logging, forest fires, or change inland. It is therefore essential to reduce the emission of CO2 to achieve climate neutrality.
What does Net Zero mean?
Net-zero is the balance between the introduction and removal of greenhouse gases in the ecosystem. The principle of acquiring a net-zero status is the same as that of carbon neutral. Here the emission if the greenhouse is balanced with the amount it is removed. We reach net zero when the amount one adds is not more than the amount that is taken away, which ultimately defines carbon neutrality. While they sound the same, there is a slight difference. Net-zero means no amount of gas was emitted in the first place.
How is Net Zero Different from Carbon Neutral?
While Net Zero’s concept is quite like that of carbon neutrality, it covers more than carbon and works on a larger scale. Net-zero can be achieved if humans no longer emit carbon and do not cause global warming. It is important to note that net zero is not merely about carbon, but also greenhouse gases. In addition to CO2, it also includes nitrous oxide, methane, and more. Some companies might be able to eliminate greenhouse gas from their operation. This will let them acquire absolute zero, and it does not require offsets. However, most companies are not able to achieve this due to which they must purchase offset, and when these two approaches meet, it is known as Net-Zero. To avert global, it is important to achieve Net Zero on a global scale. This must be permanent, which means greenhouse gas, once removed, must not be introduced back into the atmosphere.
The Journey to becoming either Net Zero or Carbon Neutral
The first step towards balancing out emissions caused due to human activities is by calculating the amount of emission. This process, which is known as substantial reporting, comes with various reports and standards; however, the one that is widely accepted is GHG protocol. It is the gold standard of reporting which is used for different organizations.
Today companies and individuals have set on a journey where they are making attempts to ensure that the environment they live in is clean from harmful gasses. This effort is also to make sure that the future generation comes to a healthy ecosystem. Therefore, by achieving carbon neutral and Net-zero, these goals can be achieved on a global scale.