Wednesday, June 19, 2024

A Race Towards Net zero Movement

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Towards Net-Zero Emissions

Climate change is a global challenge and is considered as the biggest challenge facing humankind in the 21st Century. The effects of climate change are being felt widely: economic disruptions, increasing natural disasters and extreme weather events among others.

The race to Net zero which is a global campaign to rally world political and business leaders to act towards the reduction on emissions and at the same time devising mechanism to help citizens copes we the already changed climate.  Net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible with any remaining emissions being offset through objective offsetting programs.

Net zero momentum is building, remarkably, the UN climate change conference in Glasgow (COP 26), held in November 2021 was a catalyst to a momentum that seems to being sustained where more than 90% of the global economies were covered by some sort of a national net zero commitment. This is building upon the Paris Agreement that is aimed at increasing the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, and at making finance flows consistent with a low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient pathways.Net Zero is rapidly becoming the standard for government and corporate commitments.

Governments across the world are introducing various legislative proposals and making amendments to existing policies to facilitate sustainable practices. There’s also sharing of experiences on methodologies of delivering clean growth while introducing legally binding emission reductions targets through climate change Act. The diversification of consumer priorities has made greater proposition of companies commit to net zero by setting sophisticated targets.

The net zero movements aim to achieve a greener operation model which results in a leaner process with less waste and greater efficiency.Net zero offers a goal of climate stability and an accounting system to measure progress toward that goal.

Why is Net Zero Important?

On Human Health, Livelihood, Water and Food Security

Net zero will be achieved through reduction in burning of fossil fuels such as Coal and Oil. This will have direct and immediate benefits on human health. There will be reduction in respiratory diseases. The medical costs that would have been used to cater for treatment will now be channeled to improving the wellbeing. Reduction in air pollutions reduces possibility of acid rain which affects crop productivity consequently enhancing food security 

On Companies: It offers a decline of climate associated risks to shareholders without any abrupt disruption of company’s operations. This consequently contributes sustainable operating level which will enhance earnings. It also provides companies with reputational benefit to companies that are climate-conscious.

On Weather Extremes: Achieving net-zero and limiting warming will reduce the frequency and intensity of weather events such as floods, droughts, unpredictable weather patterns, heat waves and hurricanes. This also reduces the probability of the most damaging effects of climate change on natural ecosystems.

If everyone had access to clean, affordable energy, the road to a carbon-neutral world-net zero emissions by 2050 would be faster. This explains the motivation behind launch of a roadmap for clean energy transition by UN to address the objectives of Sustainable Development Goal 7: to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

According to UN Global Roadmap Goals, by 2025 the goal is that 500 million more people will have access to electricity, while 1 billion more people will be able to access clean cooking solutions. To achieve this, $35 billion and $25 billion needs to be invested into improving access to electricity and clean cooking respectively. The UN proposes the creation of 30 million jobs created in renewable energy and energy efficiency doubling to 60 million job by 2030. These will help ensure an inclusive, green recovery by investing in poverty reduction, health, education, and social protection.

This presents great opportunities for first movers in technology, education, and research matters. Financial providers, technology companies, and Universities subject to their strategies and activities will emerge as the biggest gainers when it comes to leveraging on the net zero movements. This however will require technical knowledge and strategic approaches to unlocking the value presented by this ready market.

How can the world move towards net zero?

The good news is that the technology exists to reach net zero-and it’s affordable.

The basic ingredient of achieving net zero is powering economies with clean energy, and replacing polluting coal, gas, and oil-powered stations with renewable energy sources such as wind or solar farms. This will act as a much-needed software to turn around and will dramatically reduce carbon emissions. The beauty of renewable energy is not only cleaner but much cheaper than fossil fuels.

A comprehensive introduction of electric transport coupled with renewable energy will contribute greatly to the world’s efforts to lower emissions. This will have an added bonus to reducing the devastating levels of air pollution in major cities. The appetite and culture of electric vehicles is quickly been embraced across the globe. They are becoming cheaper and more efficient and preferred breed by governments and organizations. Nations as well as those committed to net zero have proposed plans to phase out the sale of fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

The introduction of biogas technology in the agricultural and livestock sectors is playing a critical role to reduce significant levels of methane, a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

Efforts by Corporates and the government to introduce tree planting programs as the quickest means of absorbing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere signal a good intention to reach the goal bust must be backed by swift and enterprising action.

Dr. Edward Mungai
Dr. Edward Mungaihttp://www.edwardmungai.com/
The writer, Dr. Edward Mungai, is a global sustainability expert. He is the Lead Consultant and Partner at Impact Africa Consulting Ltd (IACL), a leading sustainability and strategy advisory in Africa. He is also the Chief Editor at Africa Sustainability Matters. He can be contacted via mailto:edward@edwardmungai.com

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