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Decarbonisation is a wonder word and a miracle solution to the climate crisis.
As far as promises go, a recent report noted that 111 of the world’s 167 biggest-emitting companies have set a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to bring down CO2 equivalent emissions by 3.7 billion tonnes a year by 2030.
And more than half of the UK’s FTSE 100 companies have signed up to the UN’s Race to Zero campaign.
Here is a set of definitions to simplify the sustainability jargon:
- Carbon neutrality refers to when companies emit the same about of CO2 from the atmosphere as they produce. By definition, carbon neutrality means every ton of anthropogenic CO2 emitted is compensated with an equivalent amount of CO2 removed. It can be achieved at a domestic level with offsets in place.
- It is not to be confused with net-zero carbon emissions which refers to the complete elimination of any carbon emissions.
- Net-zero GHG emissions refer to the complete elimination of all greenhouse gases, as opposed to just carbon dioxide.
- Carbon sequestration refers to the natural or artificial process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and stored in solid or liquid form. The ocean, atmosphere, soil and forests are the world’s largest carbon sinks.
- Scopes 1, 2 and 3 refer to the different kinds of carbon emissions a company creates. Scope 1 emissions are the direct GHG emissions occurring from sources that are owned or controlled by the company; scope 2 accounts for indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity or other facilities consumed by a company and; scope 3 emissions are a consequence of the activities of the company, but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the company.
- Carbon budget is the amount of CO2 the world can emit while still having a likely chance of limiting warming to the 2°C target.
- Peaking emissions refer to emissions reaching a specified maximum level by a particular date before declining afterwards. It is critical to determine the global emissions trajectory timeline and ambition, as in the case of the Paris Agreement.
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