August 18

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Carbon-Neutral Vs. Net-Zero Carbon; What does it mean for Our Planet?

By DJ VAGNETTI

August 18, 2021


Show Notes

ENVIRONMENTALLY CONCERNED NATIONECN 002

In this episode of Environmentally Concerned Nation,  Dr. Samuel Goodman and I discuss his best-selling book, Beyond Carbon Neutral.  It is a compelling book that claims to have the answers to the climate crisis. So, if you want to know what needs to happen to put an end to the environmental crisis, learn about the sacrifices that we must make before it is too late, and get first-hand information on the real threat from a reliable source so you can do your part for the sake of our children and future generations to come, tune in, and do not forget to subscribe to this podcast.

Dr. Samuel Goodman is;

  • an Eagle scout
  • a chemical engineer
  • a Ph.D. in chemical engineering
  • a best-selling author

Buy Beyond Carbon Neutral on Amazon!

Find more about Dr. Goodman on LinkedIn.

Transcript

Related Article;

What is Carbon Neutral?

Carbon-neutral means balancing out carbon emissions with an equivalent amount of carbon savings. A company achieves carbon neutrality when it invests in renewable energy sources that cancel out carbon emissions. Carbon-neutral means that the company is funding renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives in developing countries.

Many industries must purchase carbon offsets. These offset projects are the equivalent of cutting emissions from a power plant and are verified by third parties. In the United States, Congress has passed legislation requiring that all new buildings constructed or renovated be carbon neutral, including net-zero emissions. This means that the installation must not emit any more carbon than was emitted during construction.

a globe representing carbon neutral

Carbon offsets

Many people have heard of carbon offsetting, but few understand the difference between carbon-neutral offsets and net-zero offsets.

Why are these terms important? Because they are different ways for companies to reduce their carbon footprint without cutting staff or layoffs. Some of the biggest businesses in the world, including Starbucks and Wal-Mart, have incorporated carbon offsetting into their day-to-day operations.

Carbon Neutral is the most common of the three.

A “carbon-neutral business” is a company with no net negative impact on the environment through its production processes.

The term “Carbon Neutral” is a way to describe how efficient the company is at reducing emissions, as measured by the amount of carbon dioxide that it has consumed in a given amount of time.

Creating a Carbon Offset

By planting trees, using cleaner technologies (such as wind turbines and solar panels), or offering a service that removes carbon from the atmosphere. People and organizations can sign up for Carbon Offset providers who will work hard to extract their emissions.

Another way to think about carbon neutrality is by thinking of yourself as a landlord who’s buying either a new natural gas furnace or perhaps a block heater for convenience. Some people spend thousands of dollars on building materials and purchasing offsets for CO2 emissions even though they’re just going to release it back into the air anyway. In contrast, others could spend $150 on a pre-fabricated solution that would cost them maybe 10 cents per year to offset. Either way, the big takeaway in this section is how much more viable current carbon offset options are than in the past.

two green feet represent net zero energy

What can you do to become Carbon Neutral?

There are many reasons why we need to be carbon neutral: We must save the Earth from climate change by reducing our carbon footprint, and we need to save our planet from the effects of climate change.

REDUCING OUR EMISSIONS IS KEY TO CLIMATE CHANGE!

Carbon Neutral Defined is when you can offset all of your carbon emissions, so there is no net increase in CO2 in your life. It’s important to note that a carbon-neutral life means more than just reducing your CO2 emissions. It also includes things like:

  • Creating a renewable energy supply
  • Using more recycled products
  • Recycling waste materials

You need to understand that no one can be carbon neutral; it’s impossible to achieve. The only way you can be Carbon Neutral is by setting things up that reduce your CO2 emissions and use as little energy as possible, and consume fewer resources than what would otherwise be required. A carbon-neutral life is one of the ways we can help keep the planet safe for our children. Carbon Neutralism is about setting up a lifestyle that limits the adverse effects of climate change. It is a way of living that allows you to feel good about yourself and what you are doing for the environment, even if you cannot reduce your carbon footprint with every action.

To put it simply, Carbon Neutral is about reducing your CO2 emissions to the point where you are at least maintaining a constant level of CO2 in the atmosphere; or a level where you are lowering the amount of CO2 by a small margin. If you’re not reducing your CO2 emissions, then you are increasing them.

an electric car

What is Act Carbon Neutral, and why would you want to do that?

Act Carbon-Neutral is about participating in activities that are sustainable and not contributing to climate change. There are three main types of carbon-neutral activity:

  • Supporting sustainable businesses
  • Supporting renewable energy infrastructure and green initiatives
  • Connecting with the environment by consuming less (or no) fossil fuels
  • driving small cars,
  • staying at home during peak energy times.

I’m not going to go into detail about each of these three main types of carbon-neutral activity because there are so many different ways you can do this. For example, you are carbon neutral if you have a business that supports sustainable companies and uses 100% renewable energy. The easiest way to make this happen is by signing up for a carbon offset program like a carbon credit.

I’m writing this blog post because there are many misconceptions about what “carbon-neutral” means. It’s okay to be confused about the different types of carbon-neutral activities. You want to explain why you are doing it, but I don’t know how to explain why I am doing carbon offsetting because it’s not something I’m doing for an earned benefit. I want to be able to say something like, “We are carbon neutral because we use 100% renewable energy.”

I’m not saying that this post answers all of your questions, but it does try to answer the most common ones that I’m getting.

The Only Way To Carbon Neutral

The only way to be carbon-neutral is if you are doing something like buying a carbon offset. You are taking someone else’s carbon emissions and paying them to take them off of your hands. This is called a carbon offset. Carbon offsets are usually done with native plants. For example, you could plant corn and then get paid to plow that under. The carbon offset is taking your carbon emissions and paying someone else to take them off your hands.

But don’t get me wrong, we will not pay some guy to plant corn for us and then plow it back under. This is a ridiculous idea. You’re not going to pay somebody for something that you don’t want.

I think carbon offsets are a terrible idea, and they aren’t worth it in the end.

windmills of net zero energy

What are the benefits of Act Carbon Neutral in your life?

Carbon-Neutral means you are going to reduce your carbon emissions in some way. For example, if you have a car, you could take public transportation or get a hybrid when you get a new car. Any time you drive, you emit carbon dioxide, and if you don’t want to reduce your carbon emissions, why even have a car?

I would say that carbon-neutral is a good idea if you are trying to feel better about yourself. You can say, “I am doing something to help the environment,” and then nobody will call you a hippie! You can also use it as a way to feel good about yourself because that is what we all want from our lives, to feel good.

The reason why carbon-neutral is good is that then you are reducing your carbon emissions in some way. Think of it as doing something nice for the environment without getting yourself worked up about not emitting carbon dioxide through your daily activities.

So what is the difference between carbon-neutral, net-zero, and zero-carbon?

Is there a difference in these terms? Can you still be carbon neutral if you do not reduce or even offset your emissions?

Carbon-neutral means that you have reduced your carbon footprint by some amount but not enough to make a significant difference in climate change. Carbon-neutral implies that you are doing your part to reduce the climate change impact of carbon dioxide emissions. But if you are neutral in terms of carbon footprint, should you be neutral in climate change? Or should you still be trying to reduce your carbon footprint further?

In the United States, there is a set standard for measuring and verifying a zero-carbon footprint. This standard is called “net-zero.” There are also other global carbon footprint standards, such as “carbon-neutral” and “carbon offsetting.”

So, what is Net-Zero Carbon?

Net Zero means the building is zero emissions but is NOT offsetting its carbon emissions. Net Zero Carbon is the process of offsetting your carbon footprint by actively reducing your emissions. It’s a way to become more efficient in your company and help fight climate change. So basically, a Net-Zero carbon offset is a way to become more efficient in your business and help fight climate change.

A zero-emission company is one that, at the time of purchase, does not have any emissions. This includes several actions, such as using 100% renewable energy, purchasing carbon offsets to reduce emissions, installing insulation, and other green building measures.

The Net-Zero standard

The Net-Zero standard is a way to become more efficient in your business and help fight climate change. It starts by calculating the company’s carbon emissions, then working out how many offsets can be purchased to provide the same carbon savings as if the company did not exist. The goal of the Net-Zero standard is to reduce emissions and become more efficient while helping fight climate change.

So, what is the difference between Carbon Neutral and Net-Zero Carbon?

Carbon-Neutral is a term that means if you are carbon-neutral, your emissions from the air will be balanced by the amount of CO2 you absorb from the atmosphere. Net-Zero means that renewable sources offset your emissions or have a natural carbon sink such as forests, oceans, or agriculture.

The difference between a carbon-neutral company and Net-Zero Carbon is that the latter includes energy efficiency practices. The greenest option would be to use renewable sources for electricity and transportation, and organic farming practices. A company with a Net-Zero Carbon footprint has zero total global warming potential (GWP) and no net emissions of greenhouse gases.

Some companies have a carbon-neutral policy that includes energy efficiency practices, while others do not. A carbon-neutral company has zero (net) emissions of GHG but may have a carbon footprint if they pollute.

many green words

When Does the World Need to Reach Net-Zero Emissions?

Net-zero is the point when emissions reach zero, and if achieved, we can still grow our economy. But this requires global action to reduce emissions. Net-zero emissions are the point when we have reached zero emissions, and if achieved, we can still grow our economy. But this requires a peak in emissions sooner. The world needs to reach net-zero emissions to avoid dangerous climate change.

This is the scenario that scientists foresee if global warming continues at its current rate. Researchers estimate that it will take between five and ten years for the world to reach net-zero emissions. The problem of climate change is a very complicated one, and it will be challenging to stop emissions from the earth’s atmosphere completely. One thing that can help is by reaching net-zero as soon as possible. NET-ZERO emissions mean that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will reach zero emissions by the year 2085.

What Needs to Happen to Achieve Net-Zero Emissions?

The policy, technology, and behavior need to shift for the world to achieve net-zero emissions. Net-Zero Emissions is a carbon-neutral goal that requires reducing the emissions from energy generation and consumption to zero. 0-85% of electricity by 2050 is expected from renewable sources. This is the minimum number of emissions that will be reduced by 2050.

  • Policy: Governments focus on policies that encourage renewable energy sources and discourage coal-fired power plants.
  • Technology: Renewable energy is created in a variety of ways, from wind to solar to biomass.
  • Behavior: The world as a whole needs to shift its behavior for emissions to be reduced. The level of climate change that the world will experience is dependent on how much people can or want to reduce their emissions.

Is the World on Track to Reach Net-Zero Emissions?

Despite progress, climate action is happening too slowly to reach net-zero by 2050. To be carbon neutral, a company would need to offset the carbon emissions from their business with an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide removal. Individuals and companies are responsible for their emissions.

Is Carbon Neutrality Possible?

Carbon-neutral is not a realistic goal, given that it requires the entire world to change its behaviors, and the necessary level of change is impossible to achieve. Carbon neutral is a goal that can only be met by reducing emissions while increasing carbon dioxide removal (such as through renewable energy).

nature recycle, planet net zero

How Many Countries Have Net-Zero Targets?

A carbon-neutral target is an objective that requires a country to move from greenhouse gas emissions into net-zero. Net-Zero means the government is no longer emitting greenhouse gases.

The target is achieved when the country’s carbon emissions are equal to zero, and this happens when the country’s carbon emissions reach zero. Net-zero targets are growing in popularity. In 2007 Germany became the first country to announce a net-zero target for greenhouse gas emissions. The UK and New Zealand have also reported similar ambitions.

What does ‘net zero’ mean for our planet?

Net-zero means that you can produce as much energy as you consume. So when it comes to carbon-neutral, net-zero is the best option. Net-zero or Zero Carbon implies that you have the same amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere as is being emitted to it. It means that you are not emitting any CO2 into the atmosphere, and you are also removing as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as possible.

The net-zero trajectory is a balance between decarbonization, carbon removal, and remaining emissions. Zero carbon is the ultimate goal of all climate action plans. “Net-zero” is the term used when a business has an environmental impact that is smaller than the overall effect of its activities. The goal of net-zero is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible and still provide a valuable service
or product.

DJ VAGNETTI

About the author

DJ is a professional civil engineer with a master's degree in water resources. DJ has a passion for affiliate marketing. He has performed award-winning projects in both site improvement design and water resources engineering. He is the president of Land & Watersheds & vice-president of its sister company Engineered Advantage. He actively engages in social issues like climate change trends and global water scarcity. He is the host of the podcast Environmentally Concerned Nation.

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