What is ‘Net Zero’ and why is it so important?

Climate change is happening, and it’s happening fast. The UK has the chance to end its contribution to climate change and avoid some of the worst effects like drought and hunger, which will have a bigger impact on some of the poorest countries in the world.

Net zero is a term that many people are using in the campaign to end climate change but what does it actually mean? Net zero refers to the planet achieving zero carbon dioxide emissions by either eliminating the carbon emissions as a whole or creating a balance between the amount of carbon emissions with carbon removal.

If our planet warms more than 1.5°C then the effects could be irreversible. But making simple everyday lifestyle changes such as waste, housing and transport could have a huge impact.

Sarah Croft, our campaigns manager, said:

“Climate change affects our health, our homes, our heritage and our beautiful landscapes. Our community centres where we meet, our sports fields where we play and our places of pilgrimage where we reflect. It also ruins the work we do to fight poverty.”

She discussed how the UK would impact other countries to fight climate change upon successfully achieving net zero, she said:

“The UK was the first country to legally respond to the threat of climate change. We now know if we are going to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C we need to be going much further, faster. By setting a target in law of net zero by 2045 the UK would show strong international leadership and send a signal to countries, businesses and civil society that we need to be going further and faster with our emissions reductions.”

The national assembly for Wales have set in place the “Well-being of Future Generations Act” which requires the Welsh Government and other public bodies to ensure that any decision made must take into consideration the short term and long term impacts it could have socially, culturally, economically or environmentally. These small steps in decision making could have a massive impact on the lifestyle and well-being of future generations.

Parishes in Wales have also come together recently to celebrate World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation which was established my Pope Francis and encourages every person living on this planet to care for our shared earth. Pope Francis wrote:

“The warming caused by huge consumption on the part of some rich countries has repercussions on the poorest areas of the world, especially Africa, where a rise in temperature, together with drought, has proved devastating for farming.”

The next three decades are fundamentally important for the UK in terms of protecting our earth and if successful we would no longer be a country that contributes to climate change. Once we begin to tackle the issue, more countries will follow suit, with many countries such as Sweden, France, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Norway, Bhutan, Iceland and Portugal already signing up.

To encourage the government to get behind our urgent climate action, sign the petition here.

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