This month, ESA kicks off a series exploring the “road to carbon neutrality.” ESA’s scientists, engineers, and planners are uniquely qualified to bring strategic technical consulting services to our clients in support of progressing toward a decarbonized economy. Join us as we address key issues, sectors, and concepts that, together, make up the “all of the above” approach necessary to achieving success.

As climate change impacts become more undeniable and severe, the imperative to reduce and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions rises to the forefront. The recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report clearly underscores the urgency with which this must be achieved.  According to the IPCC’s press release: “The report…finds that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5° C or even 2° C will be beyond reach.”

So, what does this mean? Scientists predict that reaching this level of warming will have irreversible widespread effects across the globe. These include intense rainfall and flooding, as well as more intense drought in many regions, continued sea-level rise and coastal erosion, melting of glaciers and ice sheets, ocean acidification and reduced oxygen levels affecting ocean ecosystems and those that rely on them, and increased heat in many cities and urban areas. While these impacts are already occurring, the science indicates they will continue to get more severe.

What is being done now?

Numerous states, and now the federal government, have made commitments to achieve some form of carbon neutrality over the next few decades. California is demonstrating leadership, aiming for carbon neutrality by 2045. Local and regional governments, as well as private sector organizations, have also begun making similar commitments. This is certainly promising as a coordinated and widespread approach will be critical to any form of success.

As we work toward this future, the road to carbon neutrality must include strategies that address all aspects of our economy—from building, transportation, and land use planning to private corporations, government agencies, and more. In the coming months, we will examine many different aspects of carbon neutrality, discussing challenges and solutions as well as real-world projects ESA has worked on. Our next article will address the nuances of carbon neutral commitments by corporations. Following, we’ll take a deep dive into science-based targets, as well as the social cost of carbon. Stay tuned!

Our objective is to provide information, propose solutions, and promote a dialogue focused on addressing this key pathway to achieving a sustainable future for all.

For more information on ESA’s widespread services related to carbon neutrality, please contact Jeff Caton or Chris Easter.