Carbon Neutral/Negative – What is the big deal?

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Recently Microsoft made worldwide headlines by setting the ambitious goal of becoming carbon negative by 2030 to remove the amount of carbon that it has historically emitted in its history by 2050. In comparison, Amazon set the goal to be carbon neutral by 2040. If you do not follow humanity’s impact on the environment, it might not seem to be that big of a deal or make a lot of sense, but in the world of environmentalism and waste management, this is a huge deal. In this blog, we will look at the way most companies try to become carbon neutral and why this is such a big deal.

Difference Between Carbon Neutral and Negative

When a business states they want to be carbon neutral, they are essentially saying they have the goal to add no carbon into the atmosphere. In general, they do this in a few ways:

  • By removing the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere that they add to it. If they produce ten tons of carbon emissions, then they balance it by removing ten tons for emissions from the atmosphere.
  • By offsetting their carbon emissions, the company will invest in projects that reduce carbon emissions in other parts of the world.
  • Lastly, they do this by not emitting greenhouse gases in the first place. They achieve this by using renewable energy sources for power.

Typically most companies have gone with the second option by offsetting their emissions to achieve carbon neutrality. Often, this involves helping to fund projects in developing economies to reduce the carbon emissions there. They might encourage families to use alternative fuel sources rather than wood-based stoves for cooking, or they may invest in solar, wind, or hydroelectric power plants to help businesses make use of renewable energy. These will deduct the number of carbon emissions that the leading company outputs. The result of this zero outs the total emissions rather than reversing them.

For a company, the size of  Microsoft (software maker Intuit also has the same goal) carbon-negative. It is stating that it will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits. According to the BBC’s report on this, Microsoft has plans to become carbon negative by:

  • Planting new forests or expanding current onesRedwood sun
  • Soil carbon sequestration – this a process of putting carbon back into the ground. It also benefits the environment by making the soil more fertile and helps limit soil erosion.
  • Direct air capture – is removing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by using big fans or filters to capture the carbon emitted.
  • Bio-energy with carbon capture – in this method, companies grow crops and then capture the CO2 emissions when burned to produce heat or used to make fuels like bioethanol. By doing this, it is possible to create negative emissions if the amount of CO2 stored is higher than emitted during production, transport, and use.

At Sunrise Sanitation Services, we cheer on these companies that are making goals to better their carbon waste and helping the environment as we are passionate about this cause. If you want help in seeing how your business might be able to better their environmental impact contact us today.


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