What is Net Zero?
The term “net zero” means that any greenhouse gas emissions released are balanced by an equal amount being taken out of the atmosphere.
The Paris Climate Agreement created goals to limit the increase in global temperatures to well below 2.0°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels, and to aim to curb the temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F). To do this, global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut in half by 2030, and reach “net zero” by mid-century for the 1.5°C degree target.
Core areas of the U.S. economy—transportation, electricity, industry, agriculture, and commercial and residential buildings—need to undergo major transformation in order to get to net zero.
Most of the pathways to keeping global temperature increases below 2°C—and every pathway to stopping at 1.5°C—incorporates absorbing carbon emissions from the atmosphere through carbon capture and storage, or sequestration.