What is net zero?
Net zero is when the greenhouse gases we emit are reduced to the point where they can be balanced out by the greenhouse gases we remove from the atmosphere. In other words, it means no negative impact on the climate overall.
Climate scientists like to use the metaphor of a bath – if you pour in water faster than it empties through the plughole, the bath will fill up and eventually overflow. But if you balance the amount you put in with the amount draining away, by slowing down the tap and/or increasing the size of the plughole, then the water in the bath will remain level.
Why does it matter to me?
The UK became the first major country to set a net zero target of 2050 in 2019. Achieving this will require a complete transformation in almost all aspects of society.
Ultimately, achieving much of what is required for net zero will fall on the shoulders of businesses. Urged on by consumers, shareholders, climate-related legislation and the risks of climate change itself, many of the world’s largest companies have already drawn up their own net zero plans. Often, these include targets far in advance of 2050.
Claire Scott, part of our specialist resource efficiency team, has noticed a gradually increasing interest in net zero among SMEs as a result: