[00:02:51] So here we go with Tom Hale in a new section that we’re probably going to be bringing back and which we are, of course, calling ‘What the Hale Does This Mean?’
[00:03:17] Tom Hale, what a pleasure to have you on Outrage + Optimism. Thank you so much for joining us. We’re honored to be talking to you. We’ve known each other for a long time and always had the greatest admiration for your work and the role that you’ve played in the global system. So great to have you here.
Tom Hale: [00:03:29] Thanks for having me.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:03:30] Of course. So I wonder if we could kick off this. No one better position than you to help us understand this slightly squishy, or maybe not, concept of net zero and how it changes the world. Why don’t we just start there? Can you just talk us through what is net zero? What does it mean? Where does it come from?
Tom Hale: [00:03:47] So net zero comes from our understanding of the carbon cycle, this process of planetary system to which carbon comes out of things like us and our breath and goes into things like trees when they create photosynthesis and is how the world’s atmosphere is regulated. And that involves two really important ideas, sources and sinks, which Tom you’ll, of course, remember from Article Two of the Paris Agreement, which says to create a balance between sources and sinks in the second half of the century. And that means net zero. Sources and sinks are equal, that means we’re in a state of balance, which is where we need to get to to halt climate change, halt global warming.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:04:28] Fantastic. And what does that mean? So I understand what that means at a meta level. And can you now dial it down? What does it mean? Because it’s also applied not only globally in the context of the Paris Agreement, but also with all sorts of myriad of other entities, be it a national government, better city, better a business. What does it mean for those types of entities?
Tom Hale: [00:04:48] I think that’s one of the most exciting things I’ve seen happen since Paris, is how every different kind of actor in the world, cities, businesses, even individuals have said, OK, the world has set this goal to have a balance between sources and sinks, net zero.