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Neutralizing carbon: A sustainable solution for the future

Neutralizing carbon A sustainable solution for the future

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2015, an agreement was reached (Paris Agreement): Towards carbon neutrality by the second half of the 21st Century to minimize the impact of climate change . Here we can look at implementing carbon neutrality to achieve an important balance for the next generations.

It is known that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are one of the main causes of climate change. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, humanity has increasingly used the carbon trapped inside so-called fossil fuels, i.e. coal, oil and natural gas, which when burned are released as CO2. In May 2019, its concentration in the atmosphere reached a record level: 415 ppm (parts per million).

CO2, along with other greenhouse gases (GHGs), traps solar radiation and heats the earth’s surface. The impacts of global warming in the coming decades could be catastrophic: more frequent, severe droughts, extreme storms and heat waves, rising sea levels, melting ice caps, loss of biodiversity and major fluctuations in people’s lives, even leading to climate-related migration.

What is carbon neutrality?

According to the European Parliament, carbon neutrality is achieved when the same amount of CO2 enters the atmosphere and is removed by various means, leaving a balance of zero, also known as zero carbon emissions . But what exactly do we mean by carbon footprint? This is defined as the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, organization, service or product.

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There are several ways to achieve the balance we are talking about. The healthiest way is not to emit more CO2 than the world’s forests and plants can naturally absorb, which act as carbon sinks through photosynthesis – they take CO2 from the air and turns it into oxygen – helping to reduce emissions.

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions: This can include improving energy efficiency, switching to renewable energy sources, using cleaner transportation, and reducing energy consumption.
  • Greenhouse gas offsetting: This is the process by which organizations or individuals invest in projects or activities such as tree planting, reforestation, or delegate greenhouse gas mitigation tasks to others to compensate them. greenhouse gases that they cannot completely eliminate.

In a statement issued in 2020, UN Secretary-General António Guterres identified key factors involved in achieving climate neutrality:

  • Build a truly global coalition to support carbon neutrality by 2050.
  • Global financial regulation behind the Paris Agreement and the sustainable development goals.
  • Achieve decisive progress in climate change adaptation and resilience.

Carbon neutrality is an important goal in dealing with climate change and minimizing its impacts.

The benefits of achieving carbon neutrality

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Achieving carbon neutrality has many important environmental and social benefits. Here are some perspectives on the benefits of this:

  • Reduce climate change: Carbon neutrality helps reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the environment, reducing the impact of climate change such as increasing global temperatures, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events. This contributes to protecting the environment and reducing the risk of damage caused by climate change.
  • Improve ecosystem resilience: Carbon neutrality is often accompanied by environmental protection activities such as reforestation, tree planting, and land conservation. These activities improve ecosystem resilience and maintain biodiversity.
  • Save energy and resources: A focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions is often accompanied by improvements in energy and resource efficiency. This can help reduce operating costs and save valuable resources.
  • Business opportunities: Carbon neutrality also opens up new business opportunities. Companies can participate in the carbon market, invest in environmental protection projects, and develop cleaner products and services to meet market needs.
  • Improve social resilience: Mitigating the impacts of climate change and protecting the environment can also improve social resilience. In particular, low-income people and disadvantaged communities are often the ones most affected by climate change, and going carbon neutral can help them survive and thrive in a more sustainable environment. .

Ultimately, achieving carbon neutrality not only benefits the environment, but also has broad economic and social benefits. It is an important part of the transition to a more sustainable economy and society of the future.

So what specifically do we need to do to achieve the above?

How to achieve carbon neutrality?

Achieving carbon neutrality is an important goal of many countries and organizations around the world in response to climate change. To achieve this goal, efforts from all parties are needed, from governments, businesses to each individual.

There are three main ways to achieve carbon neutrality:

Calculate CO2 emission content

The amount of CO2 emissions emitted into the environment per unit of time. Carbon emission content is used to evaluate the level of greenhouse gas emissions, from which measures can be taken to reduce and respond to climate change.

There are many methods to calculate carbon emissions. The most common method is to use emission factors. Emission coefficient is the amount of CO2 emitted into the environment per unit of product, service or activity.

The formula for calculating carbon emission content according to the emission coefficient is as follows:

CO2 emissions = Emission factor * Output

In there:

  • CO2 emissions: Is the amount of CO2 emitted into the environment, measured in tons of CO2 (tCO2)
  • Emission coefficient: Is the amount of CO2 emitted into the environment per unit of product, service or activity, measured in tons of CO2/ton (tCO2/t) or tons of CO2/MWh (tCO2/MWh )
  • Output: The amount of product, service or activity produced, measured in tons (t) or MWh

For example: A steel factory has an output of 1 million tons of steel/year, the CO2 emission coefficient is 2.0 tCO2/t of steel. Thus, the CO2 emissions of this factory are:

CO2 emissions = 2.0 tCO2/t steel * 1 million tons of steel/year = 2 million tons CO2/year

In addition to the emission coefficient, carbon emission content can also be calculated based on other methods, such as:

  • Life Cycle Analysis (LCA): This method calculates the carbon emissions of a product, service or activity throughout its life cycle, from the stage of raw material exploitation. , production, use up to the disposal stage.
  • Climate simulation method (Climate Modeling): This method uses climate models to calculate the carbon emission content of a specific activity or policy.

The choice of method to calculate carbon emissions depends on the intended use and the required accuracy.

Reduce emissions

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  • Using renewable energy: Renewable energy is a clean energy source that does not emit greenhouse gases. Popular renewable energy sources include solar energy, wind energy, hydroelectric energy, geothermal energy, and biomass energy.
  • Improve energy efficiency: Energy efficiency can be improved by using energy-saving equipment, optimizing production and operating processes, etc.
  • Reduce the use of fossil fuels: Fossil fuels are an energy source that pollutes the environment and emits many greenhouse gases. Fossil fuel use can be reduced by using alternative energy sources, changing energy usage habits, etc.
  • Planting forests: Forests are the “green lungs” of the Earth, playing an important role in absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Afforestation helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere.
  • Increase recycling and reuse: Recycling and reuse help reduce the amount of waste, thereby reducing emissions during production, transportation, and waste treatment.

Carbon offset

  • Invest in emission reduction projects: Emission reduction projects include afforestation, carbon capture, etc. Businesses and organizations can invest in these projects to offset emissions that cannot be reduced. Okay.
  • Buy carbon credits: A carbon credit is a certificate that shows emissions have been reduced or eliminated. Businesses and organizations can buy carbon credits from emission reduction projects to offset their emissions.

Achieving carbon neutrality is a huge challenge, requiring efforts from all parties. However, this is a necessary goal to protect the environment and respond to climate change.

Conclude

Carbon neutrality is not only an important goal but also a fierce commitment in the fight against climate change. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and investing in offset projects not only helps protect the environment and ecosystem resilience, but also creates a sustainable future for generations to come. The carbon neutrality goal requires contributions from everyone, from individuals to organizations and governments.

So we need to act together, driving the necessary changes in lifestyle, work, and business decisions to ensure that we are part of the solution, not part of the problem. . Carbon neutrality not only keeps the planet in better shape but also builds a bright and sustainable future for us and future generations.

*Reference source:

Carbon neutrality, what is it and why is it vital for the future of the planet? – https://www.iberdrola.com/sustainability/what-is-carbon-neutrality

What is and how to achieve carbon neutrality? – https://en.carbonneutralplus.com/what-is-and-how-to-achieve-carbon-neutrality/