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Net Zero is a sustainable balance where humans enjoy life without adding to greenhouse gasses.


In other words, what is going into the atmosphere, is balanced by what is coming out.


That would be a sustainable ideal.


Net Zero is the internationally agreed goal for mitigating global warming in the second half of the century. The IPCC concluded the need for net zero CO2 by 2050 to remain consistent with 1.5C.


All of the different terms (Zero Emissions, Carbon Neutral, Zero Carbon, Net Zero, Climate Neutral) point to the different ways in which emissions sources and sinks are accounted for in context, and help to indicate what is, and is not included in calculating actual projects, or targets.





Smart networked electricity & hydrogen service stations



There is an abundance of clean wind and solar energy that can produce green hydrogen and electricity to charge vehicle batteries, and back-up against power cut blackouts. But there is no transport infrastructure to support rapid energy exchanges for BEVs or FCEVs. The SmartNet™ system could be the solution, also providing load levelling for national grids having to cope with renewables.




We are already well over the top of what the earth can sustain, which is why we have melting ice caps that are raising sea levels and flooding islands.


So, yes, we need to attain Net Zero, but we also need a bit more to allow for the ice caps to cool.


This will be difficult to attain, since the population of earth is growing, with each new mouth demanding food and energy, to add to greenhouse gases.


Should we reach that point, Net Zero should follow from the Circular Economy we should have created by then.


We need to capture more carbon dioxide and lock it up, such as in timber. That means not burning coal in coal-fired power stations. Because that is the reverse of carbon capture.


Each country should be independent energy wise, to prevent reliance on another, and a one way flow of revenue in imbalance. Some countries like Japan, may find that difficult due to geographical limitations against industrial and residential intensity.


That also means no conflicts, where there is no such thing as a zero emission war. We have to learn how to contain ourselves, to be content with what we have. And not seek to empire build. Another form of Net Zero. Blissful harmony.


Generally, net zero refers to all greenhouse gases, that is, all gases covered under the Kyoto Protocol, unless the definition refers to a specific gas (e.g. net zero carbon).

The concept of net-zero carbon emissions has emerged from physical climate science, operationalised through social, political and economic systems.








The Oxford Net Zero team has authored a new paper, published in Nature Climate Change, on ‘the meaning of net zero and how to get it right’.

The readiness with which a growing number of countries, sub-national entities and individual organizations have made net-zero pledges speaks to the unifying and galvanizing power of the net-zero narrative. These pledges should be encouraged. However, there is concern that these often-voluntary commitments allow too much discretion in the design of net-zero pathways and may therefore not be consistent with global net zero, or with ambitious climate action more generally.

Governance, accountability and reporting mechanisms are currently inadequate. Long-term ambition is often not backed up by sufficient near-term action. Many entities have not yet set out detailed plans to achieve their pledges and are opaque about the role of carbon offsets in place of cutting their own emissions. The environmental and social integrity of some of these offsets is questionable. As a result, some advocates have accused these pledges of amounting to little more than ‘greenwashing’.

These concerns do not negate the scientific logic of global net zero. However, they demonstrate the need for clear guardrails to ensure the robustness of net zero as a framework for climate action. The authors set out seven attributes that for a successful net-zero framework:



1. Front-loaded emission reductions
2. A comprehensive approach to emission reductions
3. Cautious use of carbon dioxide removal and storage
4. Effective regulation of carbon offsets
5. An equitable transition to net zero
6. Alignment with broader socio-ecological objectives
7. Pursuit of new economic opportunities



The paper was co-authored by Professor Sam Fankhauser, Dr Steve Smith, Professor Myles Allen, Kaya Axelsson, Dr Thomas Hale, Professor Cameron Hepburn, Professor J. Michael Kendall, Dr Radhika Khosla, Dr Javier Lezaun, Eli Mitchell-Larson, Professor Michael Obersteiner, Professor Lavanya Rajamani, Professor Rosalind Rickaby, Professor Nathalie Seddon and Professor Thom Wetzer.





Reaching net zero will involve moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy for our power, and abandoning vehicles run on petrol and diesel, in favour of those powered by electricity and hydrogen.

Gas central heating will need to be replaced by alternative sources, such as heat pumps.

Reaching net zero could also mean flying far less in future, and eating less red meat.





Presenting the government's net zero strategy to the House of Commons in the run up to COP26, the government pledged:

- £620m in grants for electric vehicles and charging points, plus £350m to help the transition from petrol


- Grants of up to £5,000 for householders to install low-carbon heat pumps


- £120m to develop small nuclear reactors (no announcement on the go-ahead for the Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk)


- £625m for tree planting and peat restoration

- More money for carbon capture and storage hubs


There's controversy about how some countries might try to reach net zero via carbon offsetting projects.

For instance, Country A might record lower emissions if it shuts down energy-intensive industries such as steel production.

But if Country A then imports steel from Country B, it's effectively handed on its carbon emissions to Country B instead of reducing the sum total of greenhouse gases.

There are schemes that enable rich countries to offset their emissions by paying poorer countries to switch to cleaner fuels.

However, some climate scientists worry such arrangements could let wealthier nations avoid reducing their own fossil fuel usage.

And it's hard to say that initiatives funded to offset emissions elsewhere would not have happened anyway.











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