Achieving carbon neutrality is seen as an important step in addressing climate change and reducing the impacts of global warming. Many organisations and governments have set targets to become carbon neutral in the near future. India has formally declared its commitment to reduce its Emissions Intensity by 45 percent by 2030 with a long-term goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2070. So, what is carbon neutrality? Why is it so critical? And, what are the steps we can take to achieve it?
What is carbon neutrality?
Carbon neutrality is the state that aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions. This entails a harmonious balance between the quantity of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere with an equivalent amount removed or offset by carbon by measures that lower or eliminate carbon from the atmosphere. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, including through the use of renewable energy sources, an increase in energy efficiency, and the implementation of carbon offset programmes like reforestation or carbon capture and storage.
Carbon Neutrality VS Net Zero
While often used synonymously, these are actually two different terms. A person, a business, a product, a structure, a city, or anything else can be considered carbon neutral. Net Zero, though, goes one step beyond and refers to the control of emission of all greenhouse gases emitted and the amount removed from the atmosphere.
What have been India’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality?
The Paris Agreement and the CoP26 climate meeting of 2022 were significant global forums that advocated the merits of carbon neutrality and encouraged governments and organisations to pledge their commitment to the cause. The establishment of the National Green Tribunal and the submission of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are clear evidence of the impetus the Government of India is providing to accelerate the ambition. The top 3 goals of the NDC are:
Apart from these, there are several other initiatives underway ranging from hybrid and electrical vehicles, a clean air and climate change action programme, smart cities mission, a national biofuel policy, et al.
Although the Government of India has been swift to act in this regard, large and progressive organisations like Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) have recognised the urgency of the concern and are taking onus on themselves. While the Paris Agreement has set a target to reach net zero by 2050, BPCL has taken up an aggressive target of 2040.
What more needs to be done to achieve carbon neutrality?
The popular measures being utilised to achieve carbon neutrality include:-
It's important to note that achieving carbon neutrality is a continuous process and not a one-time event. Organizations and individuals need to continuously monitor and reduce their emissions, and offset or remove any remaining emissions to maintain carbon neutral status.
In a recent survey conducted by Climate Hub, an astonishingly large number of respondents claimed a lack of knowledge and awareness regarding the national and global net zero goals. Creating awareness regarding the cause is vital to enthuse people and align individual and corporate functions towards the target. The endeavour should not stay limited to creating awareness alone. People need to be given the tools and processes that can aid them such as a Business Carbon Calculator that can help SMEs assess their current carbon footprint before developing targets towards its continued reduction.
It is only when the entire global industrial, technical, financial, and social ecosystems (along with individuals, SMEs, large conglomerates, agencies, and Governments) work together, that we can realistically aim to achieve this ambitious goal and protect our Mother Earth from further anguish.
Dr Pravin Kuhikar (PR & Brand)
2023 © Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited All Rights Reserved. Updated on Jul 27 2023 12:17PM