‘Net Zero’ refers to the goal to fully negate the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activities. It can be accomplished in two ways: by reducing emissions emitted into the atmosphere, or by taking out carbon from the atmosphere through absorption methods such as planting trees or kelp forests.
With the scale of severe weather and unprecedented events we’ve experienced in recent years – from coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to floods in the United Kingdom – increasing evidence makes it near impossible to deny the reality of climate change. Furthermore, it’s our human-caused greenhouse gas emissions that are making our planet sick.
When fossil fuels are burned to fulfil our energy needs, carbon dioxide is released. Carbon is used to refer to greenhouse gas pollution because it is a significant player, but other gases such as methane and nitrous oxide also play their role in climate change.
In June 2019, to fix the ‘carbon’ problem the United Kingdom took the lead to become the first global economy to pass legislation pledging the world to net zero emissions by 2050. Essentially, the goal is to get greenhouse gas emissions down by 100% compared to 1990 levels.
If we are going to get to net-zero we need to drastically reduce our emissions in the home, transport and industry. With the use of renewables, we can begin to totally eliminate emissions in some sectors, but for areas like aviation, this solution is currently a distant pipe dream.
These inevitable emissions from sectors like aviation still need to be tackled, and to do so we can look to an alternative method to reaching net zero. It’s called offsetting and involves removing already present gases from the atmosphere. We can use old school methods like planting trees, but there are an array of possibilities such as planting kelp forests, using machines, and protecting valuable habitats such as peatlands.
According to the Committee on Climate Change, if other countries follow the UK’s example and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, there is a 50% chance of preventing a “catastrophic” 1.5°C temperature increase by 2100. The year 2050 was chosen as a feasible deadline for achieving net-zero emissions as it enables the economic impacts to happen over a significant time period, whilst also ensuring the environmental impacts are restricted as much as possible.
Across the UK various governments are reaching for different targets. Scotland has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045, while Wales has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, but with the aim of getting there faster. Northern Ireland’s carbon emissions should be reduced by at least 82% by 2050, according to the Committee on Climate Change, which noted that the country’s agricultural emissions will definitely preclude it from achieving net zero in the next 30 years.
It’s an ambitious goal that requires resources, action and the will of those who find themselves faced with the challenge. It will require major improvements over the next ten years (not only by 2050) if the UK is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century.
However, according to data released in March 2021, our emissions have only decreased by 48.8% since 1990. (although the Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions from transport and industry in 2020). If the effects of the pandemic are put aside, we can see that most of our carbon reduction has come in the way of alternative energy sources for electricity. However, more is needed to tackle the problem and resilient and robust strategies are required to deliver a low carbon future.
Cost is certainly an obstacle in the race to net zero, and it won’t be cheap to achieve our goals by 2050. The Committee on Climate Change projected in its Sixth Carbon Budget issued last year that reaching net-zero emissions would cost 0.6% of GDP annually by the early 2030s, dropping to about 0.5%t by 2050.
This will imply a rise in low-carbon technology spending from about £10 billion in 2020 to £50 billion by 2050. The cost is high, but we don’t have an alternative. Ignoring climate change is no longer an option, and the costs will be disastrous if left unchecked.
Ultimately, we cannot measure the gains of reaching net zero. The planet and all of its vulnerable resources are so intimately woven through our lives, that to destroy it will not only impact pollution and weather, but also every aspect of who we are as humans. We aren’t just striving to lower greenhouse gas levels but to transform our world, improve our green spaces and wellbeing, and build a more resilient, fair and healthy future.
At Pause People we can help you understand where you stand with your carbon emissions, and ultimately help you to become more resilient to our ever-changing world. If you’d like to know more, connect with us on our website, give us a call or send us an email at email@example.com so we can help you on your journey to net-zero.
I have been working with the energy purchasing and carbon management team at Pause for some time now and have always been impressed with the level of service and expertise. The team is extremely friendly and knowledgeable and always willing to go the extra mile to help us find the best energy solutions for our business. They are also very helpful when it comes to customer service, answering any questions we may have and offering advice on how to get the best deals. Overall, they have been a pleasure to work with and I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a reliable and efficient energy purchasing and carbon management service.
Always received a great service from Pause People, it's great to know you're in safe hands in someone with someone you can trust, Kaylea's passion and beliefs to make a change for the better shines through in her work. Strongly recommend to anyone, keep up the great work as always 🙌😊
Really knowledgeable and very passionate. Creates a real community culture with human centered policy. Give Pause People the credit they deserve 👏
The Team at Pause People Earth consistently provides best practice support across carbon reporting (including SECR) reduction target and strategy projects covering a range of listed and non-listed UK and global organisations. The projects are always delivered to the highest quality and within the required timescales and deadlines. The Team's attention to detail, experience and knowledge across the carbon landscape is exceptional and I would highly recommend them to anyone that has the opportunity to work with them.
I have worked with Pause People Collective for a few years now and I have had some great support from their team of subject matter experts. They work with great passion and drive, and have helped me with my carbon footprint analysis. I have a great working relationship with them, and they are readily accessible. I have attended, and presented with them, and they deliver a strong message, and people need to listen.
The Team at Pause People provided clarity regarding our carbon footprint for our business. The whole process was straightforward and delivered in efficient time. The report they produced was easy to follow and engaging and we look forward to working with Pause People going forward.
As an Energy and Carbon Associate, Kaylea is a perfect fit for our business, and our aligned values and principles make working with her effortless. Her work with our clients has been pivotal in helping them with their energy and carbon aspirations and her passion and drive for climate solutions makes her not only a fitting and valuable member of our team but also an inspiration for both clients and colleagues.
We have worked very closely with Pause People Collective over the years of which we have collaborated on many different projects. We have found all Pause People extremely friendly, knowledgeable and professional whenever projects are undertaken. The knowledge and advice we have received is second to none and we would highly recommend to any business looking to achieve energy compliance, energy reduction and energy procurement.
I have received a first class service from Pause People for many years, with all of our energy needs met from electricity, gas and water, to helping meet our green energy requirements. I have found them to be fully transparent and trustworthy in all of our dealings which is rare for electricity brokers.
I like the thoughtful path pause people are taking to help people on their journey to net zero and the careful consideration needed to help them reach their destination.
Such a fantastic company with the best of intentions at heart. Kaylea puts our planet at the forefront of everything she does, and not because of government targets or anything like that, because she truly cares! And so should you. You will love the service you get from Kaylea as she's a wonderful person, but to know you are doing the right thing for our planet is much more of a benefit.
The team at Pause People collective have been a great support for me since venturing into the world of sustainability. They are incredibly enthusiastic and are always willing to help drive forward new projects.
The service, support and attention to detail offered by Pause People Collective is second to none. We have found them to be friendly, helpful and honest and would highly recommend them to any business.
Kaylea (Pause People) has been a breath of fresh air in guiding us on our electricity renewal. She took the time to understand our business and our drivers, and was able to provide expert guidance through the minefield of disparate electricity tariffs. At each step of our review, Kaylea was on hand (even late into the evenings) to assist with our changing requirements. The online portal that Pause People provided was an effective visual tool to compare a true "apples to apples" across the breadth of suppliers competing to win business, and allowed us to make a truly informed decision on who we wanted to contract our electricity supply with going forward. As well as working with us on the the electricity contract, Kaylea has offered several other areas that we are now investigating to reduce our costs and further reduce our environmental impact."