The Key to a Sustainable Future: Net Zero Goal

Net Zero: Data obtained from scientific research shows that climate change is a real and urgent problem. Global average temperatures today are 1.2°C higher than in pre-industrial times. Our planet has experienced climate change many times in its millions of years of history. 

However, there is an important difference that causes us to define the problem we are experiencing today as “climate crisis”. Today, climate change is not due to natural causes but entirely due to human causes. Our population is constantly increasing, we are losing our forests for agricultural areas, animal husbandry and urbanization. 

We have been consuming increasing amounts of fossil and biomass fuel, especially since the industrial revolution. Fossil fuels produce greenhouse gas emissions that act like a blanket that surrounds the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures. 

If we continue to produce greenhouse gases at the same rate, our world will be approximately 2.7°C warmer by the end of the century. Such a picture means that we will go far beyond the climate-related problems we experience today.

Scientists think it is still possible for us to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. But to avoid the worst climate impacts, we need to cut global greenhouse gas emissions by almost half by 2030 and reach net zero emissions thereafter. 

This is precisely why an increasing number of governments, local authorities and institutions are committing to achieving net zero emissions within their jurisdictions, in order to leave a world in which future generations can live.

In this article, we take a closer look at the concept of “net zero”, which is of great importance for the future of our world; We will talk about the importance of the net zero emission target and what we need to do.

What Does Net Zero Emission Mean?

“Net zero emissions” or, as it is commonly used , “net zero” means that the amount of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities is equal to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we remove from the atmosphere. 

We can define the net zero target as an action plan determined by the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C. To achieve this goal, we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

In order to achieve the net zero target, it is of great importance that we first reduce human-induced greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels as close to zero as possible, and at the same time protect and increase carbon sinks to maintain balance. 

Natural systems such as carbon sinks, forests, land cover and oceans, which are of critical importance in the fight against climate change, ensure the balancing of carbon emissions in the atmosphere. Therefore they need to be protected and restored.​​

Why Is Net Zero So Important?

Net zero target; It is of great importance in terms of directly affecting human and environmental health. The greenhouse gases we emit into the atmosphere know no boundaries, spread equally all over the world and affect us all. Since even a small change in global temperatures causes devastating effects, countries, institutions and individuals need to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Paris Agreement, which has been approved by 190 countries and the European Union today, is considered one of the most important steps taken on this path. The Paris Climate Agreement, signed in 2015 and entered into force in 2016, aims to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C to reduce the risks and effects of climate change. 

To achieve this goal, emissions must be reduced as quickly as possible and greenhouse gases released and sequestered must be balanced by the second half of the current century. The existence of a global goal referring to the solution concerns all societies around the world.

How Will a Net Zero Target Help Stop Global Warming?

Achieving net zero emissions is of great importance in the fight against global warming, but we also need to properly understand its role and limitations. To achieve this goal, we must switch to renewable energy sources such as sun and wind instead of fossil fuels, increase energy efficiency and adopt sustainable practices in all areas of our lives, from production to consumption. 

In addition, we must repair damaged ecosystems and develop solutions that will minimize the harmful effects of industrial agriculture and animal husbandry. That’s why we need rapid and large-scale transformations in all sectors.

Realistically, reaching the net zero target will not immediately stop global warming, but it will significantly slow the process, preventing further warming. It will give us time to adapt and develop more solutions.

If we manage to limit global warming to 1.5°C, we will be able to prevent the most devastating effects of climate change, such as extreme weather events, rising sea levels and ecosystem disruption.

When Should the World Reach Net Zero Emissions Target?

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), achieving net zero by 2050 is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and avoid the most severe consequences of climate change. Every delay increases the severity of future impacts and the difficulty of mitigating them. 

However, the steps that need to be taken on a global scale to achieve the net zero goal also involve significant challenges in terms of technology, infrastructure and economic changes.

All countries need to contribute to the global effort, but developed countries, which have historically been responsible for the majority of emissions, need to lead by taking aggressive action by 2050 or sooner. 

Therefore, while 2050 remains the internationally accepted target year for net zero based on scientific recommendations, each country determines the date to achieve the net zero target in line with its own development needs and capacities.

For example, the European Union aims to be climate neutral by 2050. This target is secured through the European Climate Law, which requires all member states to contribute. However, individual member states have different timelines and strategies.

Canada also aims to reach net zero emissions by 2050. It also has an interim target to reduce emissions to 40-45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

While the UK is on track to meet its net-zero greenhouse gas target by 2050, it is trying to meet its target of a 78 per cent reduction in emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2035.

What Has Been Done So Far to Achieve Net Zero Emission?

We can say that the goal of achieving net zero emissions is a complex and ongoing effort. Taking a look at the milestones of our world’s net zero journey may be useful to see the progress we have made:

  • In 2005, the Kyoto Protocol, the first international agreement binding developed countries to emission reduction targets, came into force.
  • In the same year, the first steps of the Emission Trading System, one of the most important strategies of the European Union in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change, were taken.
  • In 2010, the Green Climate Fund was established under the UNFCCC (United Nations Convention on Climate Change) to support developing countries in climate actions.
  • The Paris Agreement, ratified in 2015, set a global target to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
  • With the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol in 2016, it was decided to phase out the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are strong greenhouse gases. All party countries, including Turkey, have committed to reduce the production and consumption of HFCs by more than 80 percent by 2045.
  • With the European Green Deal signed in 2019, the European Union began to implement the strategies it put forward to achieve the net zero target and combat climate change and environmental degradation.
  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) created a comprehensive road map for the transition to a net zero energy system with the report published in 2022.

So how do these initiatives, strategies and roadmaps change our lives?

  • First of all, investments in renewable energy are increasing to reduce fossil fuel use. For example, in Germany, the country with the highest energy consumption in Europe, the share of renewable energy reached 55 percent in 2023.
  • Innovations in areas such as battery energy storage systems, clean hydrogen, and Direct Air Caption are creating new and improved solutions to reduce emissions.
  • Carbon pricing mechanisms, regulations on emission-intensive sectors and support for clean technologies pave the way for systemic changes.
  • Increasing public awareness and concern about climate change is leading to bolder action and influencing the decisions of companies and governments.

If you want to learn what you can do for a more sustainable world, you can read our article on this subject .

Net Zero Target

Our country’s journey to combat the climate crisis began when it became a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2004 and to the Kyoto Protocol in 2009. Following the ratification of the Paris Agreement in 2021, our country also announced its net zero target for 2053. 

Immediately afterwards, preparations for the Update of the National Contribution Declaration, Long-Term Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan were initiated by the Climate Change Directorate of the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change of the Republic of Turkey and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Turkey.

The Paris Agreement requires party countries to announce their national contribution statements at regular intervals. At the 26th Conference of the Parties held in November 2022, Turkey updated its greenhouse gas reduction target, which it had previously announced as 21 percent, and announced that it aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 41 percent by 2030.

In order to achieve this goal, we must switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions in the transportation, industry, construction and agriculture sectors; We need to establish carbon capture and storage systems. In addition, increasing forest areas and improving agriculture and soil management are of great importance to achieve the net zero target.

The investment information, comments and recommendations contained herein are not within the scope of investment consultancy. Investment consultancy services are offered individually by authorized institutions, taking into account people’s risk and return preferences. 

The comments and recommendations here are general in nature. These recommendations may not suit your financial situation and risk and return preferences. Therefore, making an investment decision based solely on the information contained herein may not produce results that meet your expectations. 

Investment decisions taken/to be made and purchases and sales made/to be made etc. based on the recommendations offered through this blog page. Türkiye Finans Katılım Bankası AŞ is not responsible in any way for the transactions and possible consequences of these transactions.

Leave a Comment