Carbon Neutrality

Carbon neutrality refers to balancing the CO2 emissions of an activity, business or country by removing an equal amount of emissions from the atmosphere. It is achieved via offsetting OffsettingCompensating carbon dioxide/ greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in a certain place by removing equal amounts of emissions from…Read on اقرأ المزيد , which uses different methods, such as tree-planting or renewable energy projects, all of which have been criticized as ineffective.

The debate around carbon neutrality

Anthropogenic activities have led to global warming that is already approaching 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, even temporarily exceeding it in July 2023. Carbon neutrality is among the false solutions False SolutionsMeasures, often of technical nature, that have been proposed to deal with the climate crisis, often by fossil fuel corporations…Read on اقرأ المزيد being promoted by carbon majors and governments who defend fossil fuel interests as a pathway to address the crisis.

In spite of the lack of effectiveness of offsets, carbon neutrality, which is a synonym for “net-zero Net-ZeroBalancing the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions of a certain entity with an equal amount removed. This is ideally…Read on اقرأ المزيد ”, was enshrined in the Paris Agreement Paris AgreementAn agreement reached at COP21 in Paris in 2015 with a set of targets, most notably keeping global heating at 1.5…Read on اقرأ المزيد . Article 4.1 states that parties shall aim at finding “a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century”.

This can be understood as a bargain between interests that aim to preserve the fossil fuel Fossil FuelRefers to energy materials extracted from the earth and used for burning. The three main fossil fuels are oil, fossil…Read on اقرأ المزيد status quo (and believe they can buy their way to carbon neutrality via offsets) and those interested in limiting global heating Global HeatingThe increase in average global temperatures, which has been primarily driven by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions since the start of…Read on اقرأ المزيد for whom zero emissions are an important milestone.

Carbon neutrality and the future of the planet

There is already too much CO2 in the atmosphere for a stable climate. CO2 concentrations have exceeded 410 ppm, far above the threshold of 350 ppm, beyond which we are risking run-away climate change Run-Away Climate ChangeRun-away climate change is already possible under current levels of global warming. However, beyond certain tipping points, namely the 1.5-2°C…Read on اقرأ المزيد .

Rather than being the ultimate solution, carbon neutrality has to be supplemented by other solutions because it cannot bring CO2 concentrations down, only keep them at their current levels. Critics have also noted that the idea of “carbon neutrality” or “net-zero” can serve as a free ticket to continue polluting without having to address fossil fuel dependency or commit to real solutions.

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