The whole world is working towards a net zero future, and the UK government has set the target of hitting net zero carbon emissions by no later than 2050, which is essential if we want to avoid the worst climate impacts.
So, what does net zero mean and why is it so important?
Emissions of greenhouse gases, resulting from human activity, are causing our climate to change. Carbon dioxide is emitted when fossil fuels are burned to meet our demand for energy. Although it isn’t the only greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide is the most significant, and so the term ‘carbon emissions’ is often used to describe all greenhouse gas emissions.
Under 2008’s Climate Change Act, the UK Government set the 2050 target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to 1990 levels.
Then, in 2018, the Government asked the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to advise on a new target that would limit global warming to 1.5°C which would help avoid disastrous climate impacts. The CCC came back with a bold suggestion, and in June 2019, the UK became the first major economy to commit to ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050.
Net zero means that there are no emissions entering into the atmosphere from anything we do.
As a business, there are steps you can take to help the UK reach their net zero target.
- Use electricity from renewable sources. Here at BES, we can help you with this – click here for more information.
- Encourage staff to turn off lights when not in use and to use power saving modes on equipment.
- Buy only assets that are needed, share or rent existing assets with other businesses and challenge suppliers to explain how they are moving to net zero.
- Invest in technology to reduce energy consumption in buildings, and ensure you have a smart meter installed. If you haven’t yet had a smart meter fitted, contact your energy supplier who will arrange this free of charge.
- Avoid packaging where possible and look for natural, recyclable, and recycled materials.
- Prioritise public transport, cycling, walking, and share car journeys with others – you could even introduce an employee car share scheme, or a cycle to work scheme.
- Put a net zero plan in place and promote achievements to customers and suppliers.
- Empower staff to come up with carbon-reducing ideas and implement the best ones.
- Make reducing impacts on climate change the top priority, both in business and personally, and call on others to do the same.
Our emissions have already reduced by 38% from 1990 levels, largely due to changing the way we generate energy. BES are delighted to offer an independently certified 100% renewable electricity product for all customers. Click here for more information.
If we work together as a nation and make changes to the way we use energy, it is possible that the UK can reach their 2050 target of net zero.