How realistic is a net-zero carbon society?

How realistic is a net-zero carbon society?


For the UK to become a net-zero carbon society by 2050, it’s estimated that it will cost the government upwards of £1-trillion to achieve.

With that eye-watering figure in mind, how realistic is a net-zero society?

The challenges of a net-zero carbon society

Making our cities, roads, homes and buildings net-zero is a massive undertaking and it’s going to take all of us, not just government legislation, to achieve it:



The UK ban on all new diesel and petrol cars by 2035 will go some way to reducing those emissions. But in a statement by the London Cycling Campaign, there needs to be a 60% decrease in car mileage by 2035 to reach net-zero by 2050, even if all vehicles were low emission.


Another big issue is public transport, with the averagebus emitting around 74g of CO2 per passenger per km.

The government’s Decarbonising Transport report outlines a strategy to reduce car use and promote “natural first choice”, aimed at commuters using carbon-free public transport, cycling and walking.

And to back up that report, on 30th March 2021, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that £120 million will be made available through the Zero-Emission Buses Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme, allowing local transport authorities to:

  • bid for funding to purchase zero-emission buses
  • reduce carbon emissions from local public transport
  • improve air quality in towns and cities


London has the added problem of decarbonising the Underground with emissions figures for the Underground and Docklands Light Railway at 55g and 47g of CO2 per passenger, per km.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has promised the Underground will be powered by zero-carbon sources by 2030.

net-zero carbon society London Underground


Beef, lamb and dairy

The consumption of meat and dairy products must be cut by 20% by 2050. And due to expected population growth, livestock numbers reduced by 10% based on 2017 levels.

Methane produced by livestock also impacts the environment, so reducing the amount of meat we consume is crucial in lowering livestock, and in turn, methane levels.

Buildings & Homes

Materials & Construction

According to the UK Green Building Council, buildings are responsible for around 40% of the UK’s carbon footprint.

Reducing these emissions means looking at how they’re constructed, the materials used and their energy efficiency.


Heating accounts for over a third of UK emissions. But the transition from gas and burning coal and gas to renewable sources has already started.

Furthermore, homes built after 2025 will no longer be connected to the gas grid. And from 2035, older buildings will have to switch to a low carbon alternative.


Recycling & Landfill

The UK produces 26-tonnes of waste per year, of which 12-tonnes are recycled. This gives the UK an average recycling rating of 45.5%, an increase of just 1.8% since 2015.


UK households use 840-billion litres of water each year, with 740-billion used to flush the loo.

By storing and managing surface water through:

We could make the use of the water we use more efficient.

water net-zero carbon society


Yes, you!

Ultimately, the most significant impact on the environment is humans. And it’s up to us to change the way we live, embrace renewable alternatives and do our own little bit in reaching net-zero.

Is a net-zero carbon society realistic?

The answer is: Yes, but it won’t be easy.

There will always be emissions, whether through manufacturing, distribution, livestock or waste. But what is possible is reducing the levels of carbon we produce to a point where offsetting, like planting trees, can make it possible.

The future will be a lot different to the world we live in now, but isn’t that a good thing?

Start by reducing the carbon emissions in your business

One way to do your bit is by making your business net-zero. Do that, and you could reap huge benefits, like:

  • Greater operational long-term resiliency
  • Saving money
  • Positive impact on your reputation
  • Opportunity to diversify your products and services that aid sustainability

Our experts will assist you in setting achievable targets and help you put a framework in place to meet your net-zero targets.  So, if you’re unsure what strategy you need to adopt. Or where to start. Inteb can work with you to put it in place across your business.

And for a little extra peace of mind, we have achieved accreditation to the FutureNetZero standard to record and review our own carbon footprint to reduce emissions across three areas:

  • Energy consumption
  • Travel
  • Waste

This means we’re able to give real, practical advice to organisations wanting to start their own journey to net zero.

Ready to start your journey?

Let’s get the conversation started – call us now on 0151 601 3476