The most abundant greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are carbon dioxide (or simply carbon), methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons. We now know that carbon stays in the atmosphere between 300 and 1000 years (!).

Greenhouse gas concentrations are dependent on the balance between the “sources” and “sinks” (forests, wetlands, etc) that function to create and destroy these gases respectively. Anthropogenic (human-related) activities increase these concentrations by releasing  amounts of gases into the air on one hand and intervening with (ie removing) the sinks on the other hand. Some facts about GHG:

  1. Since the industrial revolution, the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased disproportionally and are still increasing today, despite great efforts (and even greater intentions) to reduce. Alarmingly, the increase has resulted in a so-called radiative-forcing effect where heat is trapped inside the Earth’s atmosphere, thereby contributing to the increase in global temperature. Changes in the Earth’s temperature will trigger other phenomena like changes in wind patterns and variation of cloud covers.
  2. Every tenth of a degree that the earth gets warmer, leads to more extreme weather catastrophes. We are currently sitting at 1.1°C warmer than pre-industrial levels and scientists have warned that we must stay well below 2°C, ideally 1.5°C in order to preserve a livable climate. However, if we keep emitting carbon at the current level, we are likely to heat the planet to 2.7°C by 2050 and beyond. This is a climate humans and many other species cannot survive in.
  3. The increase in the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) accounts for more than half of global warming, compared with other gases like methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NO), ozone (O3), and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which account for 16%, 5%, 12%, and 12% respectively.
  4. We now know that carbon stays in the atmosphere at least 300 years. Methods to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases won’t decrease the impacts of climate change rapidly, which is why we must act now to change our course towards a warming of 2.7°C.

(partially from

Detailed information on how our future might look like on a warmer planet gives the 2021 report on Climate Change by the IPCC.

Would you like to know what live in NZ will look like on a warmer planet? Read the NZ Climate Change Risk Assessment 2021.

Ever since I was introduced to Tim Jackson’s mind-blowingly smart criticism of exponential economic growth, I feel the need to qualify growth in my endeavours and my business name.

The first edition of Tim Jackson’s revolutionary assessment of the astounding flaws in our current economic thinking was first published in 2009. A substantially revised second edition (Prosperity Without Growth: Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow) has been published in January 2017.  The book summarises the evidence showing that, beyond a certain level of comfort, further growth does not increase human wellbeing. Prosperity without Growth analyses the relationships between economic growth, climate change and social recession. It proposes a route to a sustainable economy without growth and argues for a redefinition of “prosperity” in light of the evidence on what really contributes to people’s wellbeing. As Jackson points out, what really truly matters hardly ever is of material nature once basic needs are met and survival is secure. In the wake of technological progress and the pursuit of ever-increasing profits, financial growth and its “skewed priorities” are linked to human exploitation and environmental destruction, which Jackson refers to as the “age of irresponsibility”. “The clearest message from the financial crisis of 2008 is that our current model of economic success is fundamentally flawed. For the advanced economies of the Western world, prosperity without growth is no longer a utopian dream. It is a financial and ecological necessity.” Jackson proposes a “Servicization” of the economy which would best support the circular economy (reuse-reproduce-recycle) that could not only save our planet but play a major role in supporting mental well-being and prosperity. Jackson explains how an emerging economic model could be the blueprint for the economy of tomorrow – an economy that provides plenty of purposeful work and treads lightly on the environment.

The book was described “one of the most outstanding pieces of environmental economics literature in recent years.” I certainly agree! The book is surprisingly easy to read, and even humorous in places. I would highly recommend it as inspiration for your own journey to sustainability!

Every New Zealand business will have to reduce carbon emissions to zero (0) by 2050 according to the Paris Agreement 2015. The Paris Agreement also dictates a legally binding interim target of 30 % emission reduction by 2030.

2030! That is today only 8.5 years away. If you haven’t made any plans about reducing your carbon footprint yet, you already wasted 6 precious years.

Climate Change: Off-setting is not the answer
Contrary to popular belief, it is impossible to achieve carbon zero by only off-setting your emissions through buying carbon credits within the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). There is not enough room on this planet to plant all the trees necessary so we could off-set all our carbon emissions today.
There is only one way: We need to reduce carbon emissions. We need to reduce carbon emissions. We need to reduce carbon emissions.

Start here
If you don’t know where to start, have a look at the Climate Change Toolbox from the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA). It lists the following areas with potential to reduce carbon emissions:
1. Moving people
2. Moving goods
3. Office operations
4. Site operations and equipment
5. Designing products

Generally, businesses start with an assessment of their current emissions which will form the base for future carbon reductions. There are quick wins like changing to LED lighting and investigating areas where energy is simply wasted (there are often many).

The good news: energy efficiency saves money!
Being energy efficient is associated with huge cost savings over time which makes this process essential for future-proofing your business.
The longer businesses wait to reduce their carbon emissions, the more cost-intensive the process will be as there is currently not enough expertise nor resources available to carry out the work that is needed to change to carbon zero. The capital cost of energy efficiency measures is predicted to increase as the demand rises towards 2030 and 2050 respectively.

Making the right decision today will ensure business continuity
The best decision you can make in this decade is to start your journey to carbon zero today: As a fully trained Carbon and Energy Professional, it would be my pleasure to prepare an Energy Reduction & Management Programme (compliant with ISO 50001) for your company. Alternatively, consider upskilling one of your staff in order to create energy and carbon reduction capability in your own business (depending on its size). It could be one of the wisest investment decisions you would ever make.
I’m here to help! Just ask. Look forward to hearing from you.
021 350 936
[email protected]