How Is World Earth Day Highlighting The Net Zero Target?
It is World Earth Day, and reaching the net zero target has never been more important. Housing Industry Leaders looks at public perceptions of net-zero, our current progress and what some companies are doing to highlight this day.

COP26 outlined that countries must come together to secure a global net zero by 2050. Governments will need to accelerate the phase-out of coal, halt deforestation, and transition to clean vehicles.

Adapting to protect communities and natural habitats is essential as the climate will continue to change with devastating effects without doing so. Countries affected by climate change must ensure the protection and restoration of ecosystems and build resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid the loss of homes and lives.

Through the COP Presidency, the UK will help to ensure countries, international financial institutions, private financial institutions, and private financial institutions deliver on their commitments to meet the $100bn goals.

Public awareness and perceptions of net zero 2050 target

An online survey by the UK government of 6,947 members of the UK public was carried out between September and October 2020 regarding climate change and the UK’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

Around 39 per cent of participants stated that they had a lot or a fair amount of knowledge of net zero, with 87 per cent having heard of net zero. After providing information on net zero, around 78% of the participants said they strongly or somewhat supported the target.

From the targets, over 3/4 of participants believed that there would be better health, 74 per cent believed there would be better well-being, and half believed the economy would be better.

What are some companies doing to celebrate World Earth Day?

On World Earth Day, companies are coming together to highlight how to be more sustainable.

In fashion, eBay has launched a new initiative today to provide slightly damaged clothing, footwear, and accessories new life and reduce waste. eBay Imperfects sees the online marketplace partnering with over 100 brands, where products have been deemed unsellable and sold at up to 60% off the retail price.

In sport, Plymouth Argyle and the Argyle Community Trust have announced the launch of their inaugural Energy and Environmental Plan, serving as a blueprint for Argyle’s journey to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Home to the famous Baby Shark song, Pinkfong has released a 35-minute playlist on climate change for children to be educated on preserving the earth and habits to improve the environment. This highlights how key it is that people from a young age get educated on issues such as climate change and are made aware of things they can do to help reach the net-zero targets.

Why is it so important that we reach net zero?

Climate change is an issue, increasing the likelihood of droughts, severe weather patterns and other problems.

Carbon emissions can lead to forest fires and have been increasing dramatically, as global warming is leading to longer and harsher droughts and extreme weather events.

Are we making progress?

Around one third of the world economy is said by the UK government via the COP26 website to be covered by net zero targets, which is up from less than 30 per cent when the UK took on the Presidency of COP26. In 2012, 40 per cent of the UK’s electricity came from coal; now, that figure is less than 2 per cent.

By 2020, the Environment Agency had already reduced its direct emissions by 47 per cent. It became the first government organisation to sign a charter officially committing to reducing the negative environmental impact of its plants and equipment.

A total of 31 fully electric vans, replacing diesel vehicles, are now in the fleet, with another 150 to come by at the end of 2022. Switching to electric vans will save more than 2,300 tonnes of carbon emissions.

We are currently seeing many changes and adaptions taking place to move towards being more sustainable and reaching the 2050 targets. Changes such as more offshore wind power, an investment in low carbon hydrogen gas and the delivery of new and advanced nuclear power are taking place.

In addition to these, funding for more sustainable transport including thousands of net zero buses is underway. An example of this is how recently Greater Manchester was awarded more than £1bn from City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements to boost its bus, trams, and wider transport. At the same time, Transport for Wales launched the ‘Wales on Rails’ project, which encourages more people to travel around Wales by rail.

However, the Net Zero Policy Tracker report by Green Alliance explained that the current plans to achieve climate goals by 2050 will deliver less than 25 per cent of the cuts required.

Three key areas in the report were farming, power and waste which all saw smaller improvements than required, this contradicts the emission goal set by the UK government which pledges a reduction of 78 per cent by 2035.

The report stated: “​​Strong policies must now translate climate ambitions into measurable results over the next decade. Our calculations show the UK is a long way off track to meet its 2050 net-zero carbon target.”

World Earth Day highlights how important it is that we protect the earth and reach the 2050 net-zero targets. We can do this by coming together and continuing to push sustainability.