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Unit 1: What is Net Zero?

You might already be familiar with the term ‘climate change’ and the urgency and state of concern that is there surrounding the world regarding the climate crisis. In pairs, discuss what you think ‘climate change’ means and the effect it has on our daily lives.

Climate change describes a change in the average conditions – such as temperature and rainfall – in a region over a long period of time. NASA scientists have observed the earth’s surface warming, and many of the warmest years on record have happened in the last 20 years. (Taken from 

While the situation is serious and seems scary, there is hope! We CAN fix it. This is where the term ‘NetZero’ comes in. Discuss what you think ‘NetZero’ means and where you might have heard of it before.

There are considered to be hundreds of different definitions of NetZero being used across the world. For the purposes of this programme we will consider these 2:

United Nations Definition: Put simply, net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere, by oceans and forests for instance (Taken from

UK Definition: Net zero means that the UK’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would be equal to or less than the emissions the UK removed from the environment. This can be achieved by a combination of emission reduction and emission removal. (Taken from

To get a better understanding of NetZero and the role you can play, we will be using the analogy of a tube map for this course. Through the course, we will explore different paths, or tube lines, that will help us get to NetZero. Each tube line will signify a different aspect; for example, the Red Line can signify what the government hopes to achieve, whereas the Green Line can depict what you can do as an individual.

Part 1: Kahoot Quiz

Before proceeding, let’s check our understanding of sustainability, climate change, and NetZero through a quiz! Follow the link to the Kahoot quiz and take it as a team together.

Part 2: Reflect & Discuss

Over the next few years, the world has to work towards reducing carbon emissions to almost zero, while ensuring that the remaining emissions are absorbed through forests and other carbon sinks. To be able to limit heating to 1.5°C, we need to halve all global emissions by 2030. 

While this may seem like an ambitious goal, a lot of people around the world are working towards reaching this target. The UK government has a target of being NetZero by 2050, while Portsmouth has taken this a step further and is aiming to be NetZero by 2030. 

Governments around the world have set targets to become NetZero over the next two decades. Portsmouth City Council have identified several areas they endeavour to adapt over the coming years. The four key areas this course focuses on are: 

  • Travel and Transport
  • Waste and Consumption
  • Marine and Coastal
  • Homes, buildings and other infrastructure

Look at the following pictures and answer the reflection questions below for each of them. 

 In pairs, discuss the following questions: 

  • What can you see in the picture?
  • Which of the PCC focuses does it relate to? 
  • Why has it become a pressing concern over the last few years? 

Part 3: Research

Using the pictures, discuss with your group the priorities and plot them on the Red Line in your tube map to reach NetZero by 2030.