Zero carbon, carbon neutral, net zero are all kind of similar. It’s often confusing , but the overall objective is that our carbon emissions have to be zero.
“It’s mainly human activities where carbon emissions come from. The heating at homes and offices and the electricity used in that. Then there’s transport and the burning of petrol and diesel involved in travelling on a train or aviation or the shipping of goods that we buy. Industrial processes produce carbon emissions too, such as steel production.”
The new pledge from the government aims to avoid carbon emissions completely by 2050, or have the capability to remove it safely from the atmosphere, known as 'carbon offsetting'.
What’s the difference between “carbon neutral”, “zero carbon”, and “net zero”?
Zero carbon definition
If something is “zero carbon”, that means that it doesn’t emit any carbon at all. Some eco-friendly houses are zero carbon, for example, because they have their own renewable power sources, such as solar panels and so don’t rely on fossil fuels to run.
Net zero definition
“Net zero” is similar to carbon neutral. It’s still a fairly new term, so sometimes you might hear it used interchangeably with other words, but as governments and corporations adopt net zero targets worldwide, organisations are beginning to agree on a definition.
When companies or organisations say they’re “net zero”, it means they’ve cut their emissions down as much as they possibly can, in line with what scientists recommend. For what’s left, they offset it by taking steps to permanently remove carbon from the atmosphere. To go back to our earlier metaphor, that means they’re scooping water out of the bathtub – not paying others to change the size of their hosepipe.
Carbon Neutral definition
“Carbon Neutral” is when companies or organisations has calculated how much carbon emission they have generated. They then purchase the same amount of carbon in an agreed carbon offsetting programme.
What is Carbon Offsetting?
Put simply, it's how companies 'neutralise' effects - making or resulting in no net release of their carbon emissions. Now carbon offsetting is a controversial practice on many levels and although it isn't the answer to climate challenges. There are many green projects which companies can invest in that'll benefit our environment, which include Tree Planting and Seaweed Farming to create more CO2 in our environment.