Press release: The Carbon Cycle behind Net Zero

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Explores why ‘Geological Net Zero’ must be the aim of any Net Zero Strategy

Embargo: Tues 7 March 7pm

We would like to invite you to a free Gresham lecture taking place tomorrow on The Carbon Cycle behind Net Zero, by Professor Myles Allen (it is hybrid and will stay up after the lecture). 

This lecture is one of an ongoing three-year series on Net Zero – you can watch the first three here. 

In the lecture Professor Allen will discuss how the carbon cycle works, and why we need to aim for ‘geological net zero’. 

Professor Allen will say: “An essential part of any durable net zero, any sustainably balanced global carbon cycle, is geological net zero: that is, a global balance between any further production of CO2 from geological sources, such as burning fossil fuels, and storage of CO2 in geological reservoirs, such as reinjecting it back underground. Unlike the complexities of the biosphere, geological net zero is very simple to define and monitor, because there are no natural flows of carbon into or out of our geosphere on any scale. So we need to get to geological net zero, and we need to do it by mid-century to have any chance of meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.” 

“Unfortunately, until recently, not a single official document had acknowledged the eventual need for geological net zero, never mind committing any country, region or company to contribute towards it. And, meanwhile, ever more corporate net zero strategies emerge that seem to depend on turning rocks into trees. I’m delighted to say that has now changed, and in the highly influential – or, at least, I hope highly influential – Skidmore review of the UK’s Net Zero strategy, Chris Skidmore calls for the government to “recognise the importance of geological net zero and work to align international ambitions towards geo zero by 2050.” The (UK) government, I believe, is due to respond this month. Let’s see what they say.”


Notes to Editors

You can sign up to watch the hybrid lecture online or in person; or email us for an embargoed transcript or speak to Professor Allen: / 07799 738 439

Read more about Professor Myles Allen, the 'physicist behind net zero' who is Director of the Oxford Net Zero initiative.