What It Means to Be Carbon Neutral

Haynes Lynch
May 2021

Building off of our last blog, Carbon Offsetting Explained, today’s topic of carbon neutrality goes hand-in-hand with carbon offsets. By definition, carbon neutrality occurs when carbon emissions equal carbon offsets, which can be achieved through a few different methods. Strategies include purchasing carbon offset like we talked about last week as well as more individualized options like installing solar panels or buying an electric vehicle. Neutrality can be measured on a variety of levels, ranging anywhere from individual households to our planet as a whole. No matter the path, the end result is always a net-zero release of carbon into the atmosphere. 

In today’s society, countries around the world continue to set climate goals of carbon neutrality within the coming decades in an attempt to curb the predicted repercussions of global warming. At the country-sized scale, purchasing enough carbon offsets to cancel out an entire nation’s emissions simply is not a feasible option to achieve carbon neutrality. Instead, when governments sign the Paris Climate Agreement or declare their own ambitions, they most likely are investing in renewable energy and slowly aiding the transition away from fossil fuels. Take Biden’s new infrastructure plan for example. He wants to invest nearly $2 trillion dollars into climate-related initiatives which include modernizing our electricity grid, subsidizing the electric vehicle market, and heavily funding clean energy start-ups. If all goes according to plan, the U.S. will achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2050. 

In addition to national climate ambitions, an increasing number of companies have expressed their commitment to reducing their carbon footprints. In order to appeal to the growing number of environmentally conscious consumers and play their own part in fighting climate change, businesses have begun looking for ways to maximize their efficiency and minimize their emissions. Any emissions along their supply chain that cannot be eliminated are then offset through the purchase of carbon credits. This step is where Dot Neutral can intervene and make the process as effortless as possible.

By taking your company’s shipping data and integrating it with our software, Dot Neutral is able to provide an immediate estimate of the carbon emissions during distribution. Using this information, we then automatically purchase carbon offsets for you according to your project preferences. Offsetting the distribution process is one of many steps for businesses to achieve carbon neutrality, but we encourage all sustainably-minded readers to consider taking advantage of our services.

For individual households looking to neutralize their emissions, the EPA provides a great carbon footprint calculator that allows you to enter information about your energy consumption, transportation habits, and waste production in order to estimate your emissions. Equipped with this information, you can choose how you want to offset your emissions, whether it be through the purchasing carbon credits, switching to renewable energy, or investing in home-improvement projects. For household tips and tricks to lower your carbon footprint, stay tuned next week as we offer a comprehensive guide on how to reduce your individual emissions.

Much like carbon offsets are not the end-all-be-all solution to climate change, goals of carbon neutrality serve more as checkpoints along the way towards net-negative carbon aspirations. Hopefully, more countries, companies, and households hop on board with neutrality ambitions so that we can give ourselves as much flexibility as possible in dealing with climate-related disasters. Any progress towards a sustainable future is good progress and collective efforts have more impact than people may think.

Haynes Lynch

Haynes is a rising senior at Duke University majoring in Public Policy and Environmental Science. He has been tracking carbon markets in the U.S. for the past year and currently works on independent research surrounding emerging carbon tracking technologies. Outside of these interests, Haynes is a strong advocate for environmental justice and hopes to work more with climate policy post-graduation.

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