In 2030 carbon neutral programs will either be deemed a success or face re-evaluation. Various businesses and organisations have pledged to be carbon neutral, but what does this mean exactly?
What is Carbon Neutral
Efforts to become carbon neutral or achieve carbon neutrality mean that a business offsets or balances out the produced carbon emissions by absorbing carbon in the atmosphere via carbon sinks. A carbon-neutral program can also achieve carbon neutrality by offsetting one sector’s emissions by reducing the emissions made in another.
Carbon Sinks Defined
Carbon sinks are natural environments or systems that absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than they release. While there are artificial carbon sinks, none today have the capabilities of their natural counterparts or can absorb the amount of carbon needed to fight the harmful effects of human activity.
Natural carbon sinks include:
- The ocean
- Woodland areas
Carbon Positive vs. Carbon Negative
Terms associated with carbon neutrality and often used interchangeably are:
- Carbon positive: activities that release more carbon out into the atmosphere compared to what it removes or eliminates.
- Carbon negative: activities that exceed carbon neutrality because they compensate and cut out more carbon than is emitted.