The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its latest report clearly held that achieving the Paris Agreement temperature goals of “limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) is still possible”. But in order to avoid the worst impacts on climate, it is required to reduce the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to half by the year 2030 and reach net-zero around the mid-century. Recognizing the urgent need to achieve the target, a large number of national and local governments, as well as the business leaders all across the globe are increasingly making commitments to reach the ‘net-zero emissions’ target within their jurisdiction and businesses, respectively.
In order to achieve net-zero emissions, first of all it is essential to understand ‘what is net-zero emission’ and ‘how can it be achieved’. Thus, this blog is an attempt at explaining the meaning of net-zero emissions and the ways of achieving it. Further towards the end of the blog, attempts are made at explaining how viAct is helping industries in achieving net-zero targets.
What is Net-Zero Emission?
As defined by myclimate, net-zero emissions means that “all the man-made greenhouse gas emission must be removed from the atmosphere through reduction measures, thus reducing the Earth’s net climate balance, after removal via natural and artificial sink, to zero”. This will be achieved when all the GHGs emitted by different human activities are counterbalanced by removing the GHGs from the atmosphere in a process called carbon removal. Thus, in simple words, achieving net-zero emissions means that some amount of emissions are still possible, so long as they are offset by the processes aimed at reducing the GHGs already existent in the atmosphere. In order to reach this target, the greater the emissions, the more carbon dioxide (CO2) needs to be removed from the atmosphere (this is called sequestration). However, so as to avoid a climate catastrophe, the new GHGs emission must be brought down as possible. This means that we need to phase out fossil fuels, like coal, oil and natural gas and transit to renewable energy.
How Can Net-Zero Emission be Achieved?
To achieve net-zero emissions, making major changes in the policy, technology and behavior needs to happen. As for instance, in the pathway to achieve Paris Agreement temperature goals, renewable sources are projected to supply approximately 70-85% of the electricity by 2050. Thus, changes in energy production and use, and energy efficiency remains critical in the path of achieving the target. Apart from these, stopping deforestation, restoring degraded land, reducing food loss and waste, changing dietary choices, and making food production more efficient can also play a crucial role in reducing emissions.
Additionally, it is critical especially for the high-carbon emitting industries, such as construction, real-estate and others, to make concerted efforts towards achieving this target.
Further, investments in carbon removal techniques are also pretty significant. Efforts at removal of CO2 from the atmosphere shall compensate for emissions from such sectors in which achieving net-zero emissions is more difficult, just like aviation. There are several methods of carbon removal, ranging from land-based approaches (like afforestation, building soil carbon, Bio-energy with Carbon Capture & Storage or BECCS) to technological approaches (like direct air capture and carbon mineralization).
Thus, in general there are four key areas of consideration for organizations on their path to achieve Net-Zero:
AVOID any further carbon emissions by properly evaluating the data and design and make decisions accordingly
REDUCE the present GHG emissions by increasing efficiency in energy and materials, as well as using renewable sources
INVEST in carbon removal techniques for removing carbon from anywhere within your value chain
INNOVATE by collaborating in green finance, clean technology, big data and social movements
How Can AI be a Part of Net-Zero Emission?
In recent times, AI has emerged as a game-changing technology that has the potentiality of accelerating actions that can reduce carbon emissions. According to Boston Consulting Group, the transformative power of AI and other modern technologies can reduce 10% of global emissions by the year 2030.
In order to truly make net-zero business decisions, it is essential for the decision-makers to have in-hand updates and genuine information on their emissions. In this regard, AI technologies have the power of processing large quantities of data, and predict the likely outcomes (predictive AI) and accordingly assist in making decisions on future actions to be undertaken that will have an impact on changing the numbers.
Further, the industrial practices consist of constant inflow of data, and the processes require constant and transparent supervision. Cognitive AI – which is super-efficient at understanding complicated problems – delivers this clarity through audit trails that can be read by humans, thus allowing the entire organization to track how they can optimize the processes to unsheathe more value and reduce wastes. This ultimately helps organizations to move a step closer to net zero emission by lowering their carbon footprints.
What Role is viAct Playing in Helping Industries Achieve Net-Zero Emission?
Understanding well the growing need of the industries to take initiatives towards reducing their emissions and the urgency of achieving net-zero emissions, viAct has leveraged the power of its scenario-based AI to help the construction, real estate, and similar other high-emitting industries such as oil & natural gasses, mining, etc. in tracking their carbon emissions as well as monitoring their carbon footprints and offsets.
With viAct, the industries get an ALL-IN-ONE platform for holistic carbon assessment, where they can:
Measure: Automatically track emissions through carbon footprints using data from satellite images, IoT and AI cameras, and track the progress towards achieving sustainability targets and compare with the industry benchmarks
Predict: Forecast future emissions across the company’s footprint, relative to current efforts at reduction, new carbon methodologies and future demand, with predictive AI
Improve: Get insights on improving decarbonization strategy based on the assessment reports. Also assess the decarbonization outcome by tracking efforts towards carbon reduction and offset
Report: Get real-time insights into carbon emission data from different resources throughout the lifetime of a building/project in viAct’s integrated dashboard and get assessment reports on weekly/monthly basis to generate actionable insights before it is too late
Audit: Get holistic overview on where the budget is spent for carbon and decarbonization efforts through carbon credits auditing throughout the company and/or supply chain
Thus, viAct brings forth the world’s first AI solution for Decarbonization, powered by scenario-based AI, IoT and Satellite Remote Sensing. This ALL-IN-ONE carbon assessment platform empowers the construction and other industries by helping them plan cleverly, construct efficiently and manage smartly and contribute towards achieving net-zero emissions on the planet.