Climate Science FAQs
Read below to find out more about the climate science behind what we do!
Q. What are scopes?
Scopes are how different types of emissions are categorised. The most basic way to think about scopes is:
Scope 1: all the emissions from fuels that you directly burn (e.g. gas, fuel in cars that you own)
Scope 2: all the emissions from fuels that are burnt by someone else so that you can use the power (e.g. fuels burnt by a power station so that you can use the electricity produced)
Scope 3: everything else! All emissions that come from upstream (your suppliers) or downstream (your customers) and anything you do not directly own.
Q. How can I offset my emissions?
At Climax Community, we understand the importance of offsetting emissions in the hard to abate sectors whilst we transition towards a net-zero economy. That is why we are offering organisations and individuals the option of purchasing third party offsets through the Climate Essentials calculator. These offset credits will become part of the reduction plan for the carbon emissions that our users are not currently able to reduce.
However, at Climax Community we also understand that offsetting is not the long term solution to our climate crisis and that instead we need to encourage individuals, companies and local authorities to prioritise making active decisions which directly reduce their carbon emissions (rather than "carrying on as usual" and paying for offsets). Whilst the option is there to purchase offsets to account for Scope 3 emissions, which are the most difficult for organisations to reduce, we encourage organisations to instead invite their suppliers to use Climate Essentials. This way, suppliers and those within the value chain can go join our global community on the carbon reduction journey.
Q. What is the difference between net zero and carbon neutral?
Carbon neutral refers to a policy of measuring an organisational emission and purchasing any carbon credits to balance them. However, a commitment to carbon neutrality does not require (or even necessarily imply) a commitment to reduce overall GHG emissions. A carbon-neutral business only needs to offset the GHG emissions it produces, and it usually refers to only Scope 1 and 2.
To be a net-zero company, you must commit to reducing your organisational emissions in line with a 1.5°C or 2°C pathway. Carbon offsets may only be considered to be an option for neutralizing residual emissions, but these carbon offsets must actively remove carbon from the atmosphere. The Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) has defined net zero for corporates as follows:
‘To reach a state of net-zero emissions for companies implies two conditions:
To achieve a scale of value-chain emission reductions consistent with the depth of abatement achieved in pathways that limit warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot and;
To neutralise the impact of any source of residual emissions that remains unfeasible to be eliminated by permanently removing an equivalent amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide.’
The SBTi has a net-zero target pathway for SMEs, which simplifies the process of becoming a net-zero company. The SBTi does not require companies using the SME route to set Scope 3 targets; however, they must commit to measuring and reducing their Scope 3 emissions. SMEs can set ambitious Scope 3 targets and communicate them on their website or other public channels, but these will not be validated by the initiative. The baseline year must be 2018, 2019, 2020, or 2021.
Please note, if your company has more than 500 employees, then you cannot apply to be a net-zero company through the SBTi pathway for SMEs. You need to apply as a corporate and the process is more complex. If this is the case and your Scope 3 accounts for more than 40% of the total emissions, you must have a target for Scope 3 emissions as well.
Q. What is a kg of CO2e?