The concept of net-zero emission is about ensuring that the existing greenhouse gases (GHG) affecting the atmosphere are offset by emissions taken out of the atmosphere. The idea is to not only stop producing more GHG but to clear out the ones that were already affecting the atmosphere for years. Greenhouse gas emissions produced by India are the third-largest in the world, and the main source for this is coal. India emits about 3 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases every year. It would be about two and a half tons per person, which is half the world average. The youth is the driving force in India and could change others’ minds on how to manage their energy needs and reduce the creation of more GHG. Beyond that, encouraging others to sign up for one of the energy management courses will also benefit India in the long run. The scales could also be balanced by such actions as planting new forests, or even proactively changing how energy is used in society.
Can It Be Set Up?
Setting up workplaces that comply with net-zero emissions isn’t an impossible task. For example, the Indian Railways is set to be the first example of a large scale net-zero emitter in the world.
The Indian Railways is focussing on various steps to reduce its carbon footprint and become a net-zero emitter. Some of these strategies are listed below:
- The electrification of railway lines and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
- Improving the energy efficiency of locomotives and fixed installations.
- Green certification for installations and stations.
- Installing bio-toilets in coaches.
- Switching to renewable sources of energy.
As said by Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, “By 2030 we will be a net-zero emission railway, our carbon emission will be zero. Indian Railways transports nearly 8 billion passengers and 1.2 billion tonnes of freight every year. Ours will be the world’s first Railways of this scale to go green.” The Railways plan on setting up solar or wind equipment to generate 20 GW of renewable energy on its surplus land. There are also plans to set up rooftop solar energy on buildings, including stations, to harness around 500 MW of energy. Indian Railways promises to not depend on fossil fuel but be a 100% electricity-driven rail network in the future. This should be held up as an example to other corporations and organisations to set up efficient energy management systems. For those interested to know how principles of efficient energy management can be applied, they can take up renewable energy management courses in Delhi from reputed business schools like the NTPC School of Business.
What Makes Pursuing It A Necessity?
While stopping climate change is one of the primary motives behind net-zero emissions, just doing that will not help. The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will keep heating the world for years and will need to be brought back to pre-climate change levels. The first step to this is, to address how greenhouse gases can affect the world. Some of the best colleges offering top energy management courses will ensure that people understand how effective use of energy can directly be one of the causes of reducing greenhouse gases. Wastage of energy, from its generation to its usage, can directly contribute to more greenhouse gas emissions. Acquiring the knowledge to efficiently manage energy can help reduce more GHG.
It is more needed now, to reduce the greenhouse gas footprint than it was before. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the GHG originating from human-caused actions are higher than before, and the density in the atmosphere is rapidly rising. The planet’s average temperature increased by 1 degree Celsius between the pre-industrial times and now, with around two-thirds of that warming taking place in the last few decades. If this warming continues at the current rate, the estimated global warming will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times levels between the years 2030 and 2052.
Even though the rise in temperature seems insignificant now, if this trend carries on, the future will become inhabitable. Some of the ways that global warming can affect the planet and its people are as follows:
- Intense and extreme weather conditions take place more frequently including such events as heatwaves, droughts, and floods.
- Different regions that are already affected by harsh weather conditions will be made worse due to global warming.
- Global warming has caused icebergs and sea ice to melt, contributing to rising sea levels. Coastal regions in India such as portions of Mumbai have been predicted to be lost underwater by 2050.
- This level of warming also shifts the seasonal activities and migrational patterns of freshwater and marine species. This could have far-reaching consequences for other animals and, in turn, humans.
There are other indirect effects that global warming can have on the future. For example, warmer climates are favourable for insects that spread diseases like the dengue fever and zika, and this increasing temperature globally will help these insects thrive. Allowing global warming to exceed more than 1.5 degrees Celsius would result in environmental disasters, such as the mass extinction of the world’s coral reefs as well. Crop yields go down by 5 to 15% with every degree celsius of temperature rise. It will not only be responsible for the lack of food supply but as an indirect effect will also create mass human migration and political instability. It goes to show how far-reaching the effects of global warming can happen on humanity.
What Can Be Done To Achieve Net-Zero Emissions
To achieve net-zero emissions everywhere, the new production of human-created greenhouse gases must be minimised as much as possible. Doing this will require aggressively phasing out the use of fossil fuels, like coal, oil and natural gas, as well as transitioning to renewable energy. As per the IPCC, the production of GHG pollution should be reduced by 45% from 2010 levels within 2030, and also reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
A few steps could be followed that could cut down the production and consumption of fossil fuels, such as:
- Promoting the use of clean and renewable forms of energy, and energy-efficient technologies.
- Investing in electric vehicles, and slowly phasing away those that use fossil fuels, while making those fuel-efficient.
- Increase subsidies for renewable and electric vehicles while ending fossil fuel subsidies.
- Utilise direct air capture technology to capture carbon from emission sources to trap in deep geological formations. Doing this will also result in negative emissions.
- Investing in reforestation should be a priority as trees can help with removing carbon dioxide from the air.
Personal responsibilities should be followed as well. People should be more aware of how they use energy, whether that energy is being wasted, or misused. But inefficient energy use is not the only reason for releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Other sources of greenhouse gases include methane and nitrous oxide, which are primarily created when fossil fuels are burned, or through biomass combustion. If the guidelines are followed by corporations, governments and the people of India, it is possible to reach the goal of being a net-zero emitting country by the year 2050.