Net Zero by 2050

Book. Net Zero by 2050: Technology for a Changing Climate

Ordering Information

This book is still under development. The information provided here is taken from the latest version.


The phrase ‘Net Zero by 2050’ has been adopted by many organizations: governments, companies and non-profits. It means that the organization in question aims to have net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by the year 2050.

This book describes Net Zero programs: what they are, why they are needed, and how they can be achieved.

The book is organized into the following seven chapters and six Attachments.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Two Roads

Chapter 1 – Two Roads. Book Net Zero by 2050.

None of us know what the future holds. When it comes to climate change, and related issues such as resource depletion and biosphere loss, we know that we are already in trouble, and that things are going to get worse. But we don’t know how much worse. There seem to be two roads ahead of us. The first road is the one none of us want to be on — it leads to massive loss, even the collapse of civilization. The second road recognizes that the coming years are going to very difficult — there is no going back to the “old normal”. Nevertheless, technology and commitment may help us achieve an acceptable “new normal”.

Chapter 2: Realities

The topic of climate change generates an enormous amount of misunderstanding, wishful thinking and virtue signaling. This chapter describes some of the realities of the world that lies ahead of us. If we are to come up with effective responses, we must face these realities.

Chapter 3: The Shape of Net Zero

As we move from fossil fuels to other sources of energy, our energy infrastructure will go through some fundamental changes. This chapter examines what those changes might look like.

Chapter 4: Alternative Energy

This chapter provides an overview of some of the alternative sources of energy that are being developed and implemented. Detail to do with many of these sources is provided at our web site.

Chapter 5: Geoengineering

If our efforts to contain global warming are ineffective there will be increased interest in efforts to contain the damage. One of these efforts — carbon capture and sequestration — is already being applied on a small scale. Other options, such as putting reflectors in space, could have many unanticipated consequences. They also raise profound social and ethical concerns.

Chapter 6: The Path Forward

There are no easy answers to the climate change dilemma. Indeed, there may be no effective answers at all. We are entering a new world. We cannot return to the early 1950s — that world is in the rearview mirror. However, we must do our best to find ways of slowing down climate change and minimizing its impacts. This chapter provides some suggestions as to how individuals and organizations can respond.

Chapter 7: The Net Zero Professional

This final chapter provides some thoughts as to how individuals can adopt a career path for a rapidly changing world.

Attachment A: Poems

The text of two poems used in the book. They are Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken and W.B. Yeats’ The Second Coming.

Attachment B: IPCC Reports

The IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is a United Nations body that publishes authoritative reports on climate change. Some of the more important reports are described in this Attachment.

Attachment C: The 300-Year Party

The last three centuries have been like no other. We have lived exuberantly on the store of energy provided by coal, oil and natural gas. Now the party is over; we have reached limits for these resources and we have treated the atmosphere like an open sewer. It is time for a new way of living.

Attachment D: IEA Net Zero by 2050

The International Energy Agency has published a detail report on how to achieve the Net Zero goal. Its report is analyzed in this Attachment.

Attachment E: The Energy Cliff

This Attachment provides a description of basic terms such as ERoEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested) and Jevons’ Paradox.

Attachment F: A Personal Journey

The theme of the first chapter is to do with selecting a road to the future. This Attachment provides an overview of my own journey.



Author: Ian Sutton


  1. Two Roads
  2. Realities
  3. The Shape of Net Zero
  4. Alternative Energy Sources
  5. Geoengineering
  6. The Path Forward
  7. The Net Zero Professional

A. Poems
B. IPCC Reports
C. The 300-Year Party
D. IEA Net Zero by 2050
E. The Energy Cliff
F. A Personal Journey