Handling Climate Change Through Net Zero – What Is It?

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Net Zero
Image Source: iStock/Venimo

Climate Change has been a ‘heating’ topic for the world for the past few years. The Earth is heating up faster by the day, making the hazard of climate change real that ever, compelling world leaders to churn out a solution. The top 4 nations contributing the most to greenhouse gas emissions are China, US, EU and India. The recently conducted  COP26 summit in Glasgow focused on the plans of achieving net zero by 2050.

The summit saw the presence of the world’s most prominent leaders which included US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Russian President Vladimir Putin, UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Over 130 countries across the globe have roughly pledged to cut down the emissions of greenhouse gases and achieve the net zero target by 2050. 

….but what is Net Zero? 

Net Zero is the newest and effective way adopted by the world to tackle the issue of climate change. It looks to balance out the greenhouse gasses produced and the amount taken out from the atmosphere. Net Zero aims to prevent countries from adding to the amount of greenhouse gases like Carbon dioxide and Methane in the atmosphere. Since the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere trap the sun’s energy, it leads to the heating of the Earth. This drastic effects of these have already begun to show up. Severe rainfall and storms, rising sea levels, erratic whether changes, wildfires, etc have become rampant, all being the effects of climate change. Thus bringing down the emissions of greenhouse gases is of utmost importance. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to achieve net zero is by planting a huge number of trees.   

The main issue with the solution itself is that rapid deforestation has led to the world having very few trees which are key to swallowing CO2. Besides, the concrete jungles everywhere have left no spaces for the trees to grow.  

The other way suggested for net zero is carbon capture and storage. Under this machinery will be used to suck the carbon present in the air, turn it into solid and then bury it underground. This, however, is only a suggested solution. It not only is expensive, its effectiveness still needs to be proven.  

Why is stress being laid upon Net Zero?

It does not expect countries/industries to cut their already existing negative emissions if the absorption and removal of these gasses exceed the actual emissions. They simply need to absorb more than emit. 

Which country has pledged what? 

China, the largest producer of CO2 in the world, has said that it is aiming for “carbon neutrality” by 2060. It hasn’t rolled out any plans of how it will achieve this target. Chinese leaders chose to stay absent from the summit. 

Russia, one of the largest oil producers of the world, said it will reach net zero by 2060. Russian leaders, too, weren’t present at the summit. 

The US and EU aim to achieve net zero by 2050. Leaders of China and Russia were heavily critized by US President Joe Biden for skipping such an important summit. 

India being the fourth largest contributor of CO2 after China, the US and the EU, has pledged to reduce its emissions to net zero by 2070.

Other countries with heavy populations like Indonesia though, haven’t made any net zero commitment.

Why is Net Zero significant? 

It doesn’t require countries to completely bring down the emission, but rather find ways to balance it out in ways that ensure the nation’s economic development as well as Earth’s protection and preservation. It is significant to save the survival of humans and protect life on earth from hazardous natural disasters that we have already started facing across the world.  

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