How to reach zero emissions?

Emissions per service will continue to decrease [1] due to technological innovations [2]. For example, generating more of our energy with low-emission methods such as renewables and nuclear will drive emissions per service down further still [3,4,5]. Of course, this all depends on how much effort and investment we devote to improving [2] and implementing these technologies [6], and on what is physically possible!

Unfortunately, lots of our emissions are caused by products and services from which it is difficult to reduce emissions [7].

For example, it’s much easier to reduce emissions from cars than beef productions or airplanes [7,8,9].

Whilst cars can be run on electricity generated by renewable sources [10,11], commercial airplanes can’t yet be powered by electricity [8], and cows release a potent greenhouse gas called methane [12] which can’t be prevented completely [13,14]. So to get these emissions down to zero we have two choices:

1) Reduce consumption – e.g. don’t farm cows [5,15,16]

2) Take emissions back out of the air [17,18] using technology [19] or nature [20,21].

Easier said than done, right? That’s the purpose of our courses – to make it easier! We will explore how you personally can contribute to bringing emissions down to zero, and what will happen if we don’t!

References

[1] https://www.oecd.org/env/cc/49082173.pdf Within report see: Key messages page 6

[2] https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/ipcc_wg3_ar5_chapter7.pdf Within report see: Executive summary, last paragraph

[3] https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions#co2-intensity-of-economies Within article see: CO2 intensity of economies

[4] https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/ipcc_wg3_ar5_chapter7.pdf Within report see: 7.5.3 and 7.5.4

[5] https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/9/2/296

[6] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40518-019-00130-7 Within paper see: Accelerating Energy Transition: Actions for a Sustainable Energy Future in Africa

[7] https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2018/ee/c7ee02342a Within paper see: 13.2 The value of CCS

[8] https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8504807 Within book chapter see: abstract

[9] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02786.x?casa_token=j6ZNgBecrZcAAAAA%3A7Yf7FuQAhJo5qAHLuS0-7C3_f1zfcNg5uToNnCEQXWR5Ejxnz4Set-XSJYBzX_8lkWKsfo_Bw9Ct88eH. Within paper see: Abstract

[10] https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/9/2690 Within paper see: abstract.

[11] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421513010872 Within paper see: abstract

[12] https://www.ghgprotocol.org/sites/default/files/ghgp/Global-Warming-Potential-Values%20%28Feb%2016%202016%29_1.pdf Within report see: Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) methane GWP in table

[13] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02786.x?casa_token=j6ZNgBecrZcAAAAA%3A7Yf7FuQAhJo5qAHLuS0-7C3_f1zfcNg5uToNnCEQXWR5Ejxnz4Set-XSJYBzX_8lkWKsfo_Bw9Ct88eH Within paper see: Methane from enteric fermentation

[14] http://eprints.undip.ac.id/16566/1/1992-2000_009.pdf Within paper see: 1. Methane production in ruminants

[15] https://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6392/987 Within paper see: Mitigation through consumers

[16] https://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6392/987/tab-figures-data Download supplementary material S2. Nutritional units, GHG emissions mean for Peas, Tofu, Bovine Meat (beef herd), Poultry Meat

[17] https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/SYR_AR5_FINAL_full.pdf Within report see: Future Pathways for Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development, Box 3.3, page 89

[18] https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/POST-PN-447/POST-PN-447.pdf

[19] https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2665702 Within paper see: abstract

[20] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330691577_Grounding_nature-based_climate_solutions_in_sound_biodiversity_science Within paper see: A focus on forests

[21] https://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/oceanography/ocean-earth-system/ocean-carbon-cycle

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