What does ‘net zero carbon emissions’ mean, and how do we get there?

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – While carbon emissions are starting to decrease in Nebraska, there’s still a lot of room for growth. That’s why local agencies are uniting to educate the community on how they can help.

Conservation Nebraska partnered with Lincoln Electric System, Nebraska Public Power District and the Omaha Public Power District Saturday to talk about what ‘net zero carbon emissions’ meant. The groups also explained their action plans to get Nebraska there by 2050.

“Net zero, it’s not exactly getting rid of all the fossil fuels. It’s balancing them with the same amount of clean energy so it just cancels each other out,” said AmeriCorps member Grace Kollars. Kollars has been working in Conservation Nebraska’s Common Ground Program.

“We’re not going to just get rid of all the coal plants in the state,” Kollars said. “We’re going to balance it out with the cleaner wind, solar and nuclear energy instead.”

Some of the technology needed to reach net zero emissions are already being used, but there are more innovations on the way.

“There’s a lot of technology today that we can use like wind power, solar panels, hydropower, we’re also looking at energy storage, battery technology, new nuclear, small scale nuclear, anything and everything. Carbon capture, anything, and everything is on the table,” said LES board member Lucas Sabalka.

Both the public power districts have made it their goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but LES has the most ambitious plan, aiming to meet the criteria by 2040.

“The 2040 goal, really for LES, is a balance between 2030 and 2050,” Sabalka said. “The science says we should get to net zero as soon as possible, but if we’re waiting on technologies, we might want to wait until 2050. so really, it’s about a balance between the two. it’s more about the direction.”

Conservation Nebraska hosts these educational events to provide more insight for the public as to what they can do to help, from turning lights off to using public transportation.

“I’m just a big believer that any little thing anyone can do will make a difference,” Kollars said. “That’s where conservation Nebraska comes in. Because I also believe that people don’t make the changes unless they know how to, and so that’s why we focus on education a lot.”

You can today’s event and all of Conservation Nebraska’s educational events by clicking HERE.

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