Green energy initiatives continue to evolve as the majority of the world’s countries pledge to reach 0% emissions by 2050. Achieving “net zero” means that we will no longer be putting emissions into the atmosphere other than what can also be absorbed back.
Almost every country has signed the Paris Agreement, committing to the “net zero” initiative to keep the climate at 1.5°C above the pre-industrial era level or better. Rising beyond that can irreversibly damage the climate, a real threat to human life and sustainability of the globe as we know it.
Carbon neutrality isn’t a fever dream anymore — innovations in green energy, electric cars, and overall fossil fuel reduction have made it an attainable future. But it’s not all about reduction, absorption of harmful emissions already present in the atmosphere is critical as well. Ecosystem protection and revitalization of the forests, marshlands, and even soil all play a critical role in carbon absorption.
Unsure about the importance of the “net zero” initiative? The last decade (2010 – 2020) was the hottest on record, with projections for an increase in temperature as much as 5°C in the next 80 years. That might seem like a far away worry, but it is coming up nonetheless.
Aside from economic gains, there is the incentive of new jobs in the green energy sector as demand increases globally. Countries that contribute to the carbon emissions problem by as much as 70% of the world total have committed to carbon neutrality. Japan, the European Union, the Republic of Korea and 110 other countries are pledged to hitting the “net zero” goal by 2050, with countries like China following closely behind in 2060.
Pledges are great, but the real tell will be the size of nationally determined contributions (also known as NDC’s) that we see over the next 5 to 10 years. NDC’s are the true measure of action and targeted directives that will produce change over the long-term.
This is not just the responsibility of national governments however, it is imperative for businesses, cities, and individuals to take steps toward this change as well. As we approach the 2050 deadline, we will see the collective fruits of our labors over the next few decades.