If you’ve kept up-to-date with the changes and movements in the energy market (particularly following the recent global energy crisis), the likelihood is you’ll have heard the term net-zero being used.
However, while you might have encountered the phrase, understanding it is a different matter altogether. With so many terms in the energy industry intersecting and overlapping, there’s often confusion when it comes to learning about the next step.
At Tariff, we aim to dispel that uncertainty so you can make the right decisions for your home or business energy. We’ll break down exactly what net-zero is, why it’s important for the future, and what the roadmap is for the future of energy.
We’ll also take a look at how you can get involved ahead of the Government’s 2050 nationwide net-zero target, and what you’ll need to be aware of to make the right decisions.
The first step towards implementing the government’s net-zero policies is to first understand what we mean by the term. It’s a turn of phrase that’s become increasingly more widespread following agreements made at COP26 back in 2021.
Essentially, net-zero by definition means the balance that’s struck between the emissions produced, and the amount that’s been actively removed from the atmosphere.
This is done through a combination of emission reduction (reducing the amount of greenhouse gases you or your business releases) and emission removal (actively removing harmful emissions from the atmosphere through initiatives like tree planting and reforestation).
When the amount of emissions a business or country produces is matched by the amount they remove, they’ll have achieved net-zero. It’s a common misconception that a company needs to have zero carbon emissions to be considered net-zero, but that’s simply not the case.
The National Grid uses the analogy of a bathtub. To maintain a steady level of water in the bath, you’ll need to balance both the water going in from the taps (imagine this is your carbon emissions), and the water leaving the bathtub (imagine this is your carbon emission removal and reduction efforts). Net-zero is when the water coming in is completely equal to the water going out.
That, in essence, is the core principle behind going net-zero. When what we contribute to the overall emissions landscape is completely offset by the efforts we make to remove it, we’ll have achieved net-zero.
The next step after that is gross zero, whereby a business or country produces no carbon emissions whatsoever, and therefore doesn’t need to remove or reduce anything. This is often what many mistakenly think of when they hear the term net-zero, but there is still a long way to go before the vast majority of businesses reach that lofty goal.
Now that we’ve established the definition of net-zero, it’s equally vital that we understand why it’s something we need to strive for. Without fully knowing why we’re implementing the changes we are, they aren’t likely to be sustainable or motivate us towards real, meaningful adjustments.
As we touched on briefly at the start of this article, the move towards a global net-zero strategy really got into stride following the COP26 summit in 2021. It was there that almost 200 countries agreed to new targets for their emissions, and universally committed to limiting the rise of temperatures across the globe to 1.5°C.
While this may seem an oddly specific increase, there’s multiple reasons behind keeping this climatological target. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated that minimising the rise in global temperatures to an average of 1.5°C will secure a liveable future for humankind.
Of course, this doesn’t meant that all the issues that come along with rising global temperatures will disappear if we manage to keep that goal. In fact, conservative estimates from the IPCC say that, even with a 1.5°C rise and the global shift towards net-zero, we’ll still see rising ocean levels, temperature extremes, and weather anomalies like hurricanes and heatwaves.
However, keeping climate change to a minimum helps mitigate key environmental issues, and still retain a manageable and sustainable planet. Anything above that leads to further, more permanent consequences for the planet. Here’s just a few of the potential ramifications, according to the IPCC’s report:
It’s potential outcomes like these, as well as many others, that have prompted more decisive and direct action following the global summit at COP26. The Paris Climate agreement, in conjunction with the Glasgow Climate pact, heralded the start of new initiatives across the globe.
While countries like Iceland have already made massive headway in adopting an entirely net-zero energy network for the country (87% of their energy is completely renewable), places like Bhutan and Suriname are already carbon negative, meaning they offset more emissions than they produce.
It’s clear that, while these are unique examples on the global spectrum, there’s many steps that need to be taken to ensure the world can match the examples set by those pioneering nations, and going net-zero is the ideal step in the right direction.
Plus, those steps aren’t, for the majority of the world, too far away. The technology to create net-zero initiatives already exists, and as technology continues to progress and develop, this will become much more widespread and accessible.
Going net-zero represents the clearest choice for meaningful climate action, and the path forward has never been clearer.
Unfortunately, as you might have surmised from this article so far, we aren’t at net-zero as a nation or as a planet just yet. However, we are on the right tracks, and especially so following the agreements from the recent climate summit.
The next step now is the implementation of those strategies and schemes. In brief, the core principles from COP26 that are set to be brought into effect are:
The wheels of change are already in motion in other areas. 130 countries (of 198 in the world) already have clearly defined net-zero plans, with most having robust reporting systems in place to ensure global cooperation.
Many world leaders (including the UK, Germany, Canada, France and Spain) have taken this a step further, writing their net-zero carbon initiatives into law, and essentially futureproofing the coming decades of energy production and distribution.
On a wider scale, the European Union has enshrined the commitment to be “climate neutral” by 2050 – a huge pledge for all member countries, and one that’s still unprecedented across the world.
Closer to home though, the UK is spearheading its own net-zero strategy. We were the first country in the world to write into law a national commitment to net-zero back in 2019, closely followed by France a few days later.
The UK, while not currently one of the more populous nations on Earth, has an illustrious history of energy usage, and its that position as one of the forerunners of the Industrial Revolution that meant we needed to lead the way on transitioning to cleaner, greener energy.
Since that national pledge in 2019, the UK has invested significant funding into both offshore and onshore wind farms, as well as solar panelling, hydroelectricity and biomass, with further funding being allocated in recent months, and planned for future developments, too.
The government has also outlined key carbon budgets that better provide an overview of the UK’s plans to achieve that net-zero by 2050. These are a comprehensive roadmap, designed to provide clarity to homeowners and businesses on the path forward.
This investment, coupled with the transparency we’ve already seen from the recent carbon budget reports, simply needs to continue to better facilitate net-zero, and ultimately provide the UK and its citizens with a sustainable and safe climate future.
As further governmental funding goes into projects like the recent £30 million injection into renewable energy storage, we’ll start to see the UK’s reliance upon fossil fuels dwindle, to be replaced by more robust renewable energy solutions.
Of course, as promising as it is that the UK has already started this increased focus on renewable and clean energy sources, this needs to be mirrored across the globe to ensure that net-zero has the impact that we’re hoping it will.
And on the global stage, we’re starting to see world governments taking note of the policies and pledges from COP26. Huge world powers like the USA and Germany have conservative targets in place for emission reduction by 2030.
Even countries like China and India, whose economy has a huge focus on their involvement in industry and manufacturing, have interim targets in place for the end of the decade to reduce the intensity of their fossil fuel usage.
It’s massive shifts in global focus like these that highlight the need for everyone to do their part, and with Tariff, we’re able to guide you and your business towards a more sustainable, cleaner future.
With the definitive planetary move towards cleaner energy and a net-zero future, it’s natural you’d want to be part of that drive. That’s where switching services like Tariff come in, with our signature 3 step process for adopting renewable, greener energy.
Let’s break down that process, and how you can get involved today.
Any successful change in your energy usage has to start with understanding what you currently use, and how that can be adjusted and changed for the better. At Tariff, that’s something we’ve invested time and resources into modernising, and it’s a process we’re exceptionally proud of.
Using our intelligent IPSUM system, you’ll have an insider’s view of the energy your business expends in real-time. This can not only allow you to see where you’re using energy that you might not need, but you’ll also be able to set goals and milestones based on your current usage.
With our innovative monitoring, you can track your carbon footprint on your smartphone or tablet, and spot areas of improvement across:
With that data at our disposal, we can then move to the next stage of gearing up your business for that move to net-zero.
At Tariff, we believe that, once you understand what aspects of your business is consuming excessive energy, the next logical step is to put measures into place to reduce that usage. It might seem a daunting task at first, but with our expert help, you’ll soon be able to make moves towards net-zero.
This starts off simple. Implementing recycling or cycle-to-work schemes, for instance, can be a easy yet effective way to reduce the environmental impact your business has. Switching to online meetings and events can also help with reducing the costs of powering a meeting room and the associated technology.
Once you’ve worked to put those more obvious measures into place, our team can then help with more complex tasks. This could be helping you adopt electric vehicles if your business has its own company cars, or getting involved with eco-projects like planting trees or reforestation.
We’ll then help you migrate your energy providers to a supplier that offers a more sustainable or “green” model. This is part of our all-encompassing services that aim to modernise your business’ approach to energy, and ensure that you’re as prepared for net-zero as possible.
Once you’ve reached more manageable energy consumption through our range of unique options, you will still have some energy you’ll need to offset. It’s exceptionally difficult to move away entirely from fossil fuels in the current market, but we’re still able to transition your enterprise to a net-zero business.
Offsetting refers to supporting projects that actively remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and achieving carbon credits to prove your business’ affiliation and commitment to green initiatives.
There’s multiple ways to do this, but as part of our climate-friendly pledge, Tariff opts for verifiable Woodland Carbon Units (WCUs), which support the growth and development of new forests, and actively contribute towards making the atmosphere cleaner.
When you opt to go net-zero with us, you’ll receive access to our WCUs, meaning you can rest assured that any remaining emissions your business produces will be completely offset by the projects we support.
These carbon credits function as the final step towards becoming a net-zero business, and mean you can look forward to a prosperous and successful future in your energy usage.
At Tariff, we’ve made a firm commitment to helping businesses of all sizes and industries go net-zero ahead of the Government’s 2050 target. As one of the UK’s leading energy switch providers, we’re in the ideal position to prepare your business for the future.
Whether you’re uncertain of how net-zero policies will impact your business, or you’re seeking a more affordable solution for your business’ green energy needs, we’ll provide a bespoke package that covers everything from finding the right provider, to organising all the paperwork, to finalising that switch over.
Get in touch today to find out more about how Tariff can help your business begin its green journey.