Imagining Carbon Neutral world Transforming energy and transportation sector

“Renewable energy requires to be scaled up at least six times quicker for the world to meet the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.”

The whole world is under the effects of climate change.  Consequently, hazardous weather conditions such as drought, heatwaves, heavy rain, floods, and landslides becoming more frequent. Additional consequences of the quickly altering climate include increasing sea levels, ocean acidification, and loss of biodiversity. To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) advocates carbon neutrality by the mid-21st century, which is vital. This target is part of the Paris agreement signed by 195 countries of the world. Carbon neutrality refers to a balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere in carbon sinks. Eliminating carbon oxide from the air and then its storage is identified as carbon sequestration. To attain net-zero emissions, all international greenhouse gas emissions will have to be counterbalanced by carbon sequestration. Renewable energy requires to be scaled up at least six times quicker for the world to meet the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.

The increasing climate ambitions augment the noteworthy thrust behind clean energy. Investors should and can put their share for climate-friendly initiatives. In the presence of climate ambition, the world can witness a most important transformation in how energy is developed, deposited, and used globally. The motivation for this change originates from the profound effects that both developed and developing communities have had on our planet’s environment throughout the past century, and the forecasts going onward of what will occur if we do not act responsibly within the next 2 decades. Within the jurisdiction of carbon neutrality in energy generation lies the science of solar energy adaptation using novel or enhanced photovoltaic supplies and artificial photosynthesis for water splitting and other energy-storing reactions.

The closely connected issue of renewable energy storing is being addressed with new policies, materials, and approaches under present investigation and growth. The four themes that are altering the energy sector are digitalization; displacement; decarbonization; and disruption. digitalization and displacement are being determined by the technological revolution. Decarbonization is being determined by both social enablements in terms of voting and choice of the opting energy generation and usage as well as a technological revolution. Disruption is a by-product of one or an amalgamation of all three and generates new competitors to current business models. Energy is a significant instrument of economic development, on which both poverty alleviation and mutual prosperity rely. Inclusive economic development is the single greatest operative resource of decreasing poverty and increasing prosperity. Suitable, trustworthy, and competitively priced modern energy is indispensable for business expansion, job creation, income generation, and international competitiveness. Yet the accessibility of energy is extremely unbalanced across and within countries.

Low-income countries, which consisted of 12 percent of the world’s population, use merely 1 percent of whole global energy, and have an average electrification rate of about 30 percent. On the other hand, 40 percent of citizens in developing countries are also lacking access to modern energy. The difference between the rich and the poor is predominantly distinct for cooking and heating energy. Energy consumption per capita differs one hundred-fold between the lowest- and highest-consuming countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping committed that the carbon-neutral future of china will be accomplished by 2060. This is for the first time that China has promised carbon emissions to target incomplete terms and is a significant statement that is certain to affect key changes to its energy sector, with global consequences. It will necessitate China to implement a nationwide alteration over the next 40 years, one that is possibly even more intense than over the previous four decades. If things proceed in the same direction, it will not only generate a new energy system but a new economy. Renewable energy, electrification, carbon capture, and low-carbon hydrogen will be contributing factors to radically decrease carbon emissions in important emitting subdivisions, and the pace of technological development must accelerate considerably so that they can gage up to meet the carbon-neutral trial.

For the industrial sector that depends on coal to produce heat and steam in their making procedures, the movement to change from coal to natural gas the previous few years has already aided to decrease coal consumption, but with carbon neutrality, even natural gas will have to be curtailed. For procedures that necessitate gaseous or liquid forms of energy, then, biofuels, hydrogen, and supplementary renewable gases will be desirable. There is one more significant end-use for hydrogen, and that is the transport sector. Today China is leading the world in electric vehicles, but hydrogen fuel cell technology is enticing more and more consideration, particularly when it comes to heavy-duty transport requirements. Carbon removal, as well as operation apparatuses, will be required to address sectors that are the stiffest to decarbonize.

Carbon capture, storage, and nature-based resolutions such as emissions counterbalance through forestry schemes can still permit some fossil fuel consumption in definite energy-consuming segments that are tremendously hard to decarbonize. The target will need fast-tracking technological progressions and fundamentally innovative strategy preparation, presenting a huge test to many companies but also enormous prospects. Following the current trends, China’s energy-related carbon emissions falling quickly to just 72 million metric tons in 2050, very close to attaining the net carbon neutrality objective. Many other trails can proceed China to a net-zero emissions future, but whatever path they emulate, all this means a completely altered energy landscape, with players competing for a promotion in a new economy, some may expire while others can join the process with an innovative approach. Decarbonizing energy is moving in the correct direction, but transport, the second-largest global source of greenhouse gas emissions is in a very unlike situation.

Emissions from transport enlarged by less than 0.5% in 2019, and though this is a development equated with 1.9% annual growth since 2000, transport still accounts for about 24% of uninterrupted carbon dioxide emissions from fuel burning. If we are to retain the global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the time to create green transport is a contemporary standard.  The core issue is that transport is a tougher sector in which regulating emissions is important than energy. It is extremely dispersed with an extensive range of players across many diverse modes, such as rail, road, air, and maritime. Human actions play a greater role in demand patterns and are harder to accomplish proactively. Technological innovation in transport has not been chiefly concerned with carbon neutrality but it is more connected to consumer suitability, such as mutual riding, with unclear effects on carbon emissions. Transport’s influence on climate change is natural to understand.

However, addressing it will need a joint international obligation and a great degree of collaboration. The worthy news is that the carbon neutrality routes of transport and energy are unified, letting for equally reinforcing modifications. Augmented dispersal of disruptive technologies such as e-mobility and electric buses means that the power mix’s greening will eventually lead to cleaner passenger mobility. Furthermore, the use of electricity to produce hydrogen fuel cells could enable carbon neutrality benefits in the heavy-duty vehicle and maritime sectors. Technological development in transport will value the energy, and vice versa. Sustainable development regarding transport systems needs the promotion of connections amongst environmental safety, economic competence, and social development.

Under the environmental measurement, the objective depends upon understanding the mutual effects of the physical environment and the practices of the industry and all aspects of the transport industry that addresses the environmental matters. Under the economic measurement, the objective consists of positioning development in the sense of economic competence. Transport must be cost-effective and proficient in acclimatizing to altering demands. Under the social measurement, the objective consists of quality of life as well as advancement in standards of living. While the application of demand-based strategies and instruments is an imperative element in stimulating sustainable transport, these actions can be operative if attached with transport supply enhancements. Transportation infrastructure should be extended to accommodate quickly rising transport needs.

If the international urban population continues to develop, mainly in developing economies, there are burdens to enlarge urban transport infrastructures and the infrastructure supportive for comprehensive trade. The concept of sustainable transportation has been accepted widely, as an objective and seems to be part of the environmental plans of many governments and corporations. Still, it is evident that sustainable transportation is subtle, as it does not offer strong strategies, but typically narrative permitting stakeholders to move along with the given guidelines. For example, in 2015, the United Nations articulated 17 sustainable development goals catering to many issues ranging from decreasing economic and gender disparity to eliminating poverty and hunger. Transportation was not recognized as a separate sustainability goal. Apart from what has happened, there is a need to focus on the future with more pragmatic policies. Climate ambitions can lead to more better and comprehensive policies which can be attained.

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About Saima Zaman 40 Articles
Writer is the Assistant Editor ‘Mélange int’l Magazine’, ‘The Asian Telegraph’ & Project Coordinator (COPAIR); a degree holder in communication & media sciences.