The world is a buzz with conversations of net zero ambitions, but what does it all mean? This comprehensive list of buzz words will have you fully equipped for any forays into the net zero realm.

Greenhouse Gas (GHG): A gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect. These include the naturally occurring gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor, and fluorinated gases which are synthetic. 

CO2e: Stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. A measure used to compare emissions from greenhouse gases based on how severely they contribute to global warming. Metrics for CO2e would show how much a particular gas would contribute to global warming if it were carbon dioxide. 

KgCO2e: Stands for kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent. A conversion factor for comparing kilograms of greenhouse gas to kilograms of carbon dioxide and the equivalent effect that it would have on global warming.   

Carbon Footprint: A total of all direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions produced due to human activities and usually calculated for a time frame of one year and is also typically expressed as CO2e. 

Offsetting:  Offsetting schemes can include the planting of trees, investment into renewable energy solutions and energy efficiency projects etc. With the goal of reversing the effect of GHG emissions.

Carbon Capture: This is the process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide which is released by the process of burning fossil fuels when generating electricity, driving cars or heating homes. 

 

Target Levels 

Net Zero: Net Zero is a commitment to reducing existing anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas emissions to a minimum, whilst balancing the remaining emissions through offsetting measures.   

Carbon Neutral: The balance between emitting and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere, this is typically achieved by a combination of reducing emissions significantly and offsetting the rest. 

Carbon-negative:  Removing more CO2 from the atmosphere than is being emitted. To become negative, once emissions are at 0 KgCO2e (zero), the process of offsetting or carbon capture can be introduced for a carbon negative result. 

 

Reporting 

Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A report which contains standards, guidance and different forms of tools and training to provide businesses with a thorough understanding of greenhouse gas emissions. The protocol includes how to report and track how they are achieving targets and goals that contribute to the reducing the effects of climate change. 

Scope 1,2 & 3: This is used to categorise the way in which GHG emissions have been produced either directly or indirectly by a company and their actions according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.  

Direct Emissions: Emissions caused by sources which are controlled or owned by a company. These emissions occur as a result of activities directly related to the operational function of the company for example the combustion fossil fuels to power petrol or diesel cars when owned or rented by the company. 

Indirect Emissions: This relates to emissions that are a consequence of the company’s activities. This is usually caused by the consumption of purchased such coal being burnt at a generator to create electricity to purchase from the grid.  

 

Agreements and commitments 

COP26: COP stands for Conference of Parties, COP 26 was held in Glasgow in 2021. COP brings together different governments and other significant parties such as activists, scientists and businesses to review climate change and discuss how it can be managed. 

Paris Agreement: A legally binding commitment for international governments to address climate change. It was established and agreed by 196 countries in 2015 at COP 21, with a main goal of ensuring the global temperature doesn’t rise above 2 degrees Celsius.  

UN Race to Zero: From the United Nations: a campaign which drives net zero commitments that are in line with the Paris Agreement. This includes halving the global emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050.  

SBTi: Stands for The Science Based Target initiative. This is a reporting standard that helps businesses set targets to tackle global warming and become net zero by 2050. 

 

Stark's net zero plan

Check out our webinar series outlining our carbon reduction plan cover all 3 scopes, from where we source our energy to how we use it.

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