Carbon Neutrality – The Intermediate Step

Beyond Neutral® considers all efforts to address climate change as worthwhile steps on the path to minimising the warming of the planet.

Reducing your emissions or becoming “carbon neutral” are both positive steps which result from a conscious decision to deal with the threat posed by greenhouse gas emissions and a recognition that we all need to make progress to a sustainable future.

  • Beyond Neutral® has the expertise, experience and willingness to help you along the climate change solution pathway in an effective and efficient manner.

The Intermediate Step

For over a decade, Beyond Neutral has been promoting a leading edge concept that considers carbon neutrality to be, in reality, just an intermediate step on the pathway to climate change solutions.  Unfortunately over that decade, global emissions have risen rapidly and accelerating impacts on the climate are being observed.  Questions raised a decade ago are even more relevant and urgent.  The same questions seeking answers that go beyond “what does it mean?” need to be asked of carbon neutrality:

  • While it is a worthwhile goal in and of itself, does it really enable claims of being part of the climate change solution to be made?
  • Is it going to be enough to avoid climate disruption, especially in light of the evidence that we are already outside the “safe” CO2-e level for a stable climate?

Go Beyond Being a “Polluter” or a “Climate Bystander”

We all exist somewhere on the emitter scale from:
“Polluter” → climate neutral (“Climate Bystander”) → “Beyond Carbon Neutral/ Carbon Negative/ Solution Seeker, etc”.

Carbon neutrality effectively creates a bystander effect as climate change reverberates across the globe. It can be seen as implying that one is no more of an active part of the climate change solution than not being one of “the Polluters” (i.e. “dont blame me for global warming, I’m neutral”).

Once we move past a zero emission point, we become active participants in seeking a solution to one of the major threats to what we hold dear as individuals, communities and the planet.

Beyond A Narrow Focus on Emissions

By combining your desire to be an active part of the climate change solution with a focus on achieving improved sustainability outcomes (a sustainability dividend), you can contribute to mitigation, adaptation and sustainability outcomes through your purchase of carbon offsets.  These sustainability dividends are achieved at a small marginal cost as the carbon credit funds sustainability gains among some of the world’s poorest people and the world’s most precious high value biologically diverse landscapes.

Using the concept of effect multiplier, an individual’s response alone creates conditions that improve the result’s quality and effectiveness.  When added to all the other individual responses, the results will “punch above their weight” in terms of the nexus between climate change and achieving sustainability.  A gestalt result is possible where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

A Littering Analogy

Littering is something that has seen a marked change in attitudes over the recent decades.

We have included an analogy here to create a scenario which hopefully illuminates the idea behind moving past carbon neutrality.

Imagine you are traveling down a track in a wilderness area.

  • Throwing your rubbish onto the track is analogous to emitting greenhouse gases.
    • Your contribution is small but if everyone does it, the place is stuffed.
  • Putting your rubbish in your pocket and carrying it out is analogous to carbon neutral.
    • You are doing a good thing but what happens if you come across other’s rubbish
  • Picking up rubbish dropped by others is analogous to going past carbon neutrality.
    • Your actions help counter the negative behaviour of others.