Net zero … or carbon neutral?!

Posted on 31.03.22

One of our roles is to demystify some of the mystifying nonsense. So this is a crucial example…

Net Zero means getting to a stage where we have reduced our carbon to the absolute minimum, and we have compensated for the bit we can’t reduce by either capturing the carbon that’s still out there through natural means (like more planting) or through technology (using technology that, to be honest, has NOT been invented at the scale required.) So Net Zero refers to when all greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere are equivalent to the greenhouse gases being removed from the atmosphere on a global scale (ClimateSeed, 2021). The “net result” is zero.

The good thing about net zero:

The not so good thing about net zero:

So many people are now talking about “real” zero not “net” zero. ie no offsetting, no technology eating the carbon we will want to emit, no excuses. Just stopping the emissions. Full stop.

As an example of the mangled thinking in the net zero world: there is a FlyNetZero campaign. That will mean, by 2050, amongst other things, 65% “sustainable fuel” (which at the moment means taking land out of food production to grow crops we turn into fuel. Hmmm) and 19% offsets and carbon capture. So they also NEED MORE land to do the offsetting planting, and the NotYetInvented technology for the carbon capture.

Hmmmm. What if the truth is we just can’t keep flying? But we get to eat instead?