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Net Zero vs. Carbon Neutral – Are they the same?

Although ‘net zero’ and ‘carbon neutral’ are often referred to interchangeably, and both result in CO2 being removed from the environment, the two terms are not the same.

You’ve most likely heard the term ‘carbon neutral’ being used when referring to businesses. In this case, it’s often referring to their ambition to limit any increase in future carbon emissions, while using offsets to neutralise existing emissions.

‘Net zero’ on the other hand places much more focus on reducing carbon emissions as much as possible first, and only offsetting unavoidable, residual CO2 as a last resort.

Organisations such as the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) have developed pathways for companies to validate their net zero greenhouse gas reduction targets, and ensure they’re aligned with what science deems necessary to limit global warming to 1.5°C in the near-term. Using the links, educate yourself further on what the two terms means so that you are confident when using them in youth work settings.

Additional Resources:

A short video on what Net Zero means

Net Zero vs. Carbon Neutral – https://www.nationalgrid.com/stories/energy-explained/carbon-neutral-vs-net-zero-understanding-difference

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