Carbon neutral or zero – defined?

Another excellent report from the Centre for Integrated Sustainability Analysis, Carbon Sense and Sensibility offers a definition of carbon neutral by looking at 11 websites that offer carbon neutrality calculators and services (offsets).

The definition is based around the idea of concept of measuring a carbon footprint and then seeking to cancel out that footprints with some kind of equal but opposite behaviour or consequence.

A must read for any organisation considering offsets to achieve neutrality or any carbon offset

.. you need to ask questions about just what carbon you are responsible for, how it is being measured and then exactly where the carbon credits have come from, how reductions have been verified and how you will know that once you have paid for those reductions they are retired so that nobody else can buy them …

gulp…

This then is very different from zero carbon -where activities are not neutralised but reduced to zero through ‘improvement’ activities and just doing things differently, and certainly not through offsetting.   (and the Code for Sustainable Homes calls for Zero Carbon – not carbon neutral ?)

A zero energy building (ZEB) or net zero energy building is a general term applied to a building with a net energy consumption of zero over a typical year.In October 2007, The Uk Green Building Council warned that few zero carbon homes were actually being built as as the criteria for carbon neutral stamp relief was so stringent. However, although “It’s not a legal obligation that zero carbon homes are built now”, “building regulations are being increased in line with the Code for Sustainable Homes over the next nine years”

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