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What are Net-zero policies?

Net-zero offers reputational benefits for organisations that serve clients or businesses that are climate-conscious, as well as the reduction of climate risk for shareholders without sudden disruption to near-term earnings.

To achieve net zero emissions, we must take as much CO2 out of the atmosphere as we release. Carbon emissions have been rising recently despite the expansion of sustainable technologies. In order to limit global warming to 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels, current climate change pledges are insufficient.

Farm Fields

Rising energy prices

 Decarbonisation policies

Some politicians and commentators are opposing the goal of achieving "net-zero" emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as a cost of living crisis bites. Decarbonisation has recently been criticised as being anti-democratic and excessively expensive at a time of rising energy prices.

These statements should be taken seriously not withstanding record-high levels of popular concern about the environment. Those who advocate for the pursuit of net zero need to highlight it as essential to lowering energy costs, generating new jobs, and enhancing living conditions nationwide, in addition to the objective of reducing our dependency on fossil fuels.

Additionally, 25 energy companies failed between September and December 2021 due to rising gas costs. Since the energy price cap was abolished by Ofgem, the UK's regulator for the electricity and gas markets, bills are anticipated to rise by 54 percent starting in April. Food costs are now rising, people are buying gas on impulse, and energy costs are skyrocketing.

Prices have probably gone up even more as a result of the delaying decarbonisation and abandonment of climate programmes under past administrations. The case for decarbonization is difficult to communicate to the public since it calls for immediate, drastic change for effects that many of us might not experience.

It puts two important priorities in opposition to one another during a cost of living crisis. Along with health, the UK public's top three policy objectives are the economy and the environment. The conflict between the two will intensify due to rising pricing and energy instability.

Those with lower incomes will be hurt by rising energy costs because they spend up to three times as much of their income on energy as the wealthiest households in the UK. Many of the households afflicted by fuel poverty can be found in the Midlands and the North of England.

The UK government has set aside money for energy efficiency, such as the green homes grant and funds to increase energy efficiency in public structures and social housing. This is just the beginning.

The UK still needs to take urgent climate action in order to reach its net-zero goal. Contrary to what some would have us believe, a cost of living crisis is not caused by net zero and it has no place in it. Far from being abandoned, net zero should be pushed and expanded to create new jobs, warmer homes, and an end to our reliance on fossil fuels.

Nature's potential

Carbon Dioxide

The potential of nature to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the biosphere, such as in soils, grasslands, trees, and mangroves, has drawn a lot of attention. Through agricultural practises, land degradation, and deforestation, it is also a source of carbon dioxide emissions.

 

The correct kinds of adjustments to land management techniques might, however, lower emissions and enhance carbon storage.

The goal of net-zero ideas is to increase the amount of carbon absorbed by these systems.

Cumulative emissions, or carbon dioxide, which builds up in the atmosphere over hundreds to thousands of years and traps heat near the Earth's surface, are a major contributor to climate change.

It would take some time to get to the point where nature can remove 5 gigatons of carbon dioxide annually. Another issue is that high levels of elimination might only endure for about ten years.

Following an assessment of the net-zero commitments made by Shell, BP, TotalEnergies, and ENI, Oxfam came to the conclusion that "their plans alone might require an area of land twice the size of the U.K. One-third of the world's agriculture, or about half the size of the United States, could be needed if the oil and gas industry as a whole adopted comparable net zero standards.

According to Shell's net-zero policy, growing forests to offset 120 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually would require about 29.5 million acres (12 million hectares) of land. That equates to almost 45,000 square miles.

The storage potential increases over several years when trees are grown and ecosystems are restored. As ecosystems get saturated, this phenomenon gradually diminishes, therefore large-scale carbon dioxide removal by natural ecosystems offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to replenish depleted carbon reserves.

The carbon that is stored in the terrestrial biosphere, such as in forests and other ecosystems, also dissipates with time. Fields are tilled, which releases carbon, and trees and vegetation may perish as a result of climate-related wildfires, droughts, and warmth.

Ecosystem restoration may lower the average world temperature by 0.12 C over the next century (0.2 F). However, the magnitude of removals that the world may anticipate from ecosystem restoration won't take place in time to stop the warming that is predicted to occur within the next two decades.

Hankley Common