Education, Lifestyle

Half towards the UK’s net zero target?

Brilliant, let’s all put our feet up then….according to Carbon Brief, a climate analyst, the UK has halved its net emissions from the 1990 baseline used as part of the Kyoto and Paris climate agreements. On the face of it that means we are half way to meeting the UK’s net zero target set for 2050.

Wow, that means surely, we can take our foot off the gas, making that much progress in 30 years, should mean the 2050 target is going to be easy, right? 

WRONG and making such claims that we are half way is frankly reckless. 

Two main reasons, firstly coronavirus has reduced emissions by 11% in one year and that is set to bounce back significantly as we all emerge from lockdowns and start travelling and carrying on our normal (hopefully) lives again. 

Secondly, we have done the easy bit. There are now long periods where no coal fired power stations are used at all and many of the large dirty industries have either shut, heavily reduced or started to sort their act out. I set out to lose a little weight, the first few pounds are easy, cut out the snacks, exercise a little more and it falls off. The last few pounds are the hardest because to lose lots of weight requires a wholesale change in the way I conduct my life, the same can be said of our CO2 emissions. 

However, don’t despair, this is going to be difficult, but not impossible and in the words of JFK, ‘We (at Re-generation Earth) don’t do these things because they are easy but because they are hard’ 

As every year goes by you will see more renewable energy, wind turbines and solar farms etc, but these emit CO2 in their construction and it takes years to make that back in clean energy production. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the right thing to do but the job is not done once we build these new sources of energy generation. 

You will see more electric cars on the roads, again great news as they will mean cleaner air and reduced emissions, however the life cycle emissions of an electric car are less than a gas guzzler but not by much. Our current electricity infrastructure cannot cope with everyone turning to electric cars overnight and massive investment is required in upgrading the electricity grid, all of which comes at significant cost both in financial and CO2 emission terms. 

We need to change what we eat, how and where our food is produced, we need to waste less of it and eat a little less. 

We need to change how we insulate, light and heat our homes, how we manage water even how we tend our gardens. We need to think about our holidays, how we travel for work and leisure. 

None of these adjustments need adversely affect our lives, especially if we start now and make gradual changes, if anything it should enhance life for all. While we are making all these adjustments, there will still be residual CO2 that we cannot reduce any further. That’s where Re-generation Earth come in to its own, through our work to sequester CO2 into soils, trees and building materials we reduce the overall amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. 

It is CO2 removal that matters and the more projects we can launch to plant trees, carbon crops and develop biodiversity the less CO2 there will be in the atmosphere and the quicker we get the atmosphere back to pre-industrial levels of CO2. The planets future is in our hands, we are all in this together so lets all become part of the Re-generation. 

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