When considering the journey to net zero, it’s worth looking back at why we’re having to begin on this path in the first place. Over the past decades we have had to manage and cope with increasing population growth and demand for resources. This demand has meant there has been significant volumes of natural resources being extracted from the Earth, consequently applying staggering amounts of pressure on our global environment and exacerbating global warming.
Human activities that have impacted the environment considerably include deforestation, agriculture and industrialisation, where the use of fossil fuels has resulted in the dangerous levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere that we see today. The consequences of human activities and steep rise in greenhouse gas emissions has led us to the current global climate crisis.
The climate crisis is now an issue that affects everybody, where climate change has been responsible for flooding, droughts and extreme weather events impacting millions of lives. Certain countries have been affected by climate change more than others, and the same applies for regions within countries such as coastal areas undergoing flooding due to rising sea levels.
In recent years, the emphasis on renewable energy has increased dramatically as environmental awareness has shifted and the scale of the climate crisis has been recognised globally. The transition to renewable clean energy has been a direct response to our over-reliance on fossil fuels and the plethora of environmental impacts that have resulted from this dependency. The uptake of renewable energy has increased and it is becoming more accessible, however there are still large steps to take before we can truly become reliant on renewable energy.
There are many forms of research taking place in order to develop the most efficient and dependable renewable energy sources in regards to its production and generation. Developments in solar energy, wind power, hydropower, geothermal, biofuel and hydrogen are taking place, with new solutions being tested with the hope of them becoming viable for mass use.
As well as technologies to sustainably generate renewable energy, there is also a focus on the storage of this energy. Energy storage technologies are becoming more efficient and less intimidating from a financial standpoint, both for large-scale sites and residential storage. As we move our attention towards a renewable future, it’s worth asking ourselves, how can energy storage technologies help to ease the transition and enhance the capabilities of renewable energy? However, we first need to consider the current state of our fuel usage and the global impact it’s having.
By 2050, the UK aims to reach net zero with the decarbonisation of all sectors. To meet this ambitious target, industries must adapt to alternative methods for delivering their products and services, from investing in new technologies to entirely redesigning their day-to-day operations. The scale of the challenge is apparent, but one that is being embraced by many businesses, like Elmelin, who recognise the importance of making positive environmental change.
Alternate fuels and energy sources are being invested in by many companies, specifically those in the automotive and manufacturing industries. This movement towards cleaner energy and away from fossil fuels has resulted in a sudden influx of innovative ideas for more efficient renewable sources. These renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly important in the race to replace fossil fuels and thereby driving their demand.
Battery energy storage is a key component of the transition to net zero. Energy production and generation, automotive, aerospace and more all require battery storage technologies to store clean energy. These battery storage technologies are essential for reducing emissions and replacing fossil fuels on a mass scale.
The path to net-zero is paved with new forms of energy generation. As a business, most of our portfolio of opportunities are in supporting companies to find clean energy solutions for net zero in industrial and domestic applications to ensure their customers, our wider supply chains and society achieves its goal.
2050 is the magic year. A year that governments hope to proclaim, ‘we’re operating at net-zero carbon!’. Each member state of the Paris Agreement is creating and implementing various strategies to tackle some of the biggest contributors of emissions. Most of these contributors are in the transportation, agriculture, industry, or building sectors.
For those very compelling reasons, as a global collective we are pushing towards renewable energy sources to build a sustainable future and meet targets to cut global emissions to zero – or at least to offset our greenhouse gas output.
Let’s take a look at the 6 main renewable energy sources and the advantages and disadvantages of each. …
From automotive to construction, many different industries and sectors, wheels are in motion to bring in legislation and new standards that will help us push towards the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Currently under review is the Future Homes Standard – updates to Building Regulations for new dwellings which will impose stricter material standards and set emissions targets.
In this post, we’ll give you a summary of the Future Homes Standard and what it will mean for the industry. …
Especially when dealt with on a global scale, differences in terminology and semantics can cause confusion and misinterpretation – so it’s best to assess what each term means and how they are applied in initiatives to reach a common goal – combating climate change and protecting the future of our planet. Here we explore the difference between carbon neutral and net zero, two terms that are becoming staples for any environmental or planet-friendly discussions.
What’s the difference between carbon neutral and net zero?
Fundamentally, there is no difference between the two terms. Carbon neutrality is the act of achieving net zero emissions. Net zero may have become a more popular term on a geopolitical scale as it represents more of a “quantitative” target. Some countries have misinterpreted carbon neutrality to mean stabilising carbon emissions at a certain “accepted” level, rather than offsetting them completely.
So, whatever you want to call it, let’s dig a little deeper into what achieving net zero actually means.
What is “net zero”?
Net zero, in its broadest sense, means that you are offsetting your carbon emissions and capturing enough carbon from the atmosphere to keep the total carbon footprint at zero. This is achieved by 1) reducing emissions and 2) carbon offsetting. Reducing emissions to zero is a little unrealistic (this would be “gross zero”) – so efforts to reduce emissions must be supported by efforts to remove CO2 from the atmosphere to make up for emissions elsewhere. This is where the “offsetting” comes in.
Generally speaking, we use “net zero” to refer to what is actually “net zero carbon” – meaning that for every ton of anthropogenic emissions (carbon emissions caused or influenced by humans), the equivalent amount of CO2 must be removed from the atmosphere. Net zero GHG refers to the balancing of all greenhouse gas emissions, taking into account all other anthropogenic emissions which are harmful to the environment in abundance such as methane and nitrous oxide. This is also referred to as “climate neutral”.
That being said, the focus tends to be on carbon dioxide, as it accounts for the large majority of anthropogenic emissions.
What net zero means for us
In 2019, the UK government was the first major economy to pass into law the target of net zero emissions by 2050. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advises this step in order to keep the UK on track with commitments made as part of the Paris Agreement in 2016, to keep global warming under 2 degrees. What this means in practice is a little unclear – it imposes a legal obligation on the government to reach this target, but how it will be enforced is still largely unknown. Currently, the UK is not on track to meet its previous target of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050 – so drastic measures and vital work needs to be undertaken to push us towards that goal.
The four highest emitting sectors, being transportation, energy supply, business and residential, will be the focus of initiatives and additional legislation being brought in to curb emissions.
At Elmelin, we recognise that beyond semantics and politics, climate change is a pressing global issue that needs to be addressed through the collective efforts of entire industries. We’re working closely with our clients to develop solutions that will help them create products to aid the net zero initiative. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch.
40% of the UK’s emissions come from domestic households. The majority of these emissions are generated by the use of gas boilers. For that reason, looking at alternatives for domestic energy storage is vital to reaching the goal of net zero by 2050. In pursuit of this, the government are targeting no gas in new homes by 2025. …
Widespread change requires systemic change. Driving towards a net-zero society requires us to reexamine legislation and put in place sanctions and measures that will help to curb activities with severe environmental impact, and promote those with low impact.
Climate change has already been ramping up on the agendas of government bodies all over the world for the last decade or so – but with the problem becoming increasingly urgent, and a line in the sand of 2050 drawn for many countries to reach net-zero emissions, legislative changes are being proposed and being locked into the roadmap for the near future.
With that in mind, in this post, we’ll look at 3 key pieces of net zero-related legislation you need to be aware of. …