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!


[1] Within report see: Key messages page 6

[2] Within report see: Executive summary, last paragraph

[3] Within article see: CO2 intensity of economies

[4] Within report see: 7.5.3 and 7.5.4


[6] Within paper see: Accelerating Energy Transition: Actions for a Sustainable Energy Future in Africa

[7] Within paper see: 13.2 The value of CCS

[8] Within book chapter see: abstract

[9] Within paper see: Abstract

[10] Within paper see: abstract.

[11] Within paper see: abstract

[12] Within report see: Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) methane GWP in table

[13] Within paper see: Methane from enteric fermentation

[14] Within paper see: 1. Methane production in ruminants

[15] Within paper see: Mitigation through consumers

[16] Download supplementary material S2. Nutritional units, GHG emissions mean for Peas, Tofu, Bovine Meat (beef herd), Poultry Meat

[17] Within report see: Future Pathways for Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development, Box 3.3, page 89


[19] Within paper see: abstract

[20] Within paper see: A focus on forests


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