Share link

Decarbonization + Sustainability

Decarbonization: The Key to a Sustainable Future

ms consultants, inc.

May 25, 2023

Decarbonization is the process of reducing or eliminating carbon dioxide emissions. It’s essential to a sustainable future, as carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere, leading to climate change.


There are many challenges, but there are also many opportunities. With the right policies and investments, we can make decarbonization a reality.


In this blog post, we will discuss what decarbonization is, why it matters, and some examples of decarbonization taking place worldwide. We will also talk to Joyce Parton, SVP of Energy, to hear her perspectives.

Why Does Decarbonization Matter?

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere, leading to climate change. Climate change is already having a significant impact on the planet, including rising sea levels, more extreme weather events, and changes in plant and animal life.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that it is “extremely likely” that human activities are the leading cause of climate change. The IPCC has also stated that we must take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the impacts of climate change.

The Future of Decarbonization

There are many examples of decarbonization taking place around the world. For example, many countries are investing in renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. These energy sources do not produce carbon dioxide emissions, so they can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Other examples include improving energy efficiency and developing carbon capture and storage technologies. Energy efficiency measures can help reduce the amount of energy we use, which can lead to lower emissions. Carbon capture and storage technologies can capture carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and other industrial facilities and store them underground.


Some examples of decarbonization commitments and success:


  • Costa Rica is aiming to become carbon-neutral by 2050. The country has already achieved impressive feats, such as producing over 99% of its electricity from renewable sources and planting trees to offset the remaining emissions.
  • Sweden has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by over 25% since 1990 while maintaining strong economic growth. This was achieved through a combination of measures such as investing heavily in clean energy and improving public transport systems. They also have the highest carbon price, which has helped to reduce the number of people using it.


There are many other examples around the world, and the number of countries and cities committed to decarbonization is growing.

Thought Leader Perspective: Joyce Parton, SVP of Energy

Decarbonization, and the components included, are at the top of many community and business plans. We asked Joyce Parton, Senior VP of Energy at ms consultants, for her perspective on decarbonization and the industry.


What are the most important challenges to decarbonization?

Decarbonization is a broad term referring to an active process of doing something to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon can be released into the air, or it can be embodied. Decarbonizing refers to using less carbon in manufacturing, converting fuel sources to heat, power, and light, and/or in using fuel for travel. Understanding the many facets of how energy is used led to an understanding of the challenges; There are so many possible actions an organization can take to reduce carbon emissions, and activity plans must be prioritized.   


What are the most promising opportunities?

Around the world, we still need to focus on energy conservation. Our appetite to consume energy is still high, despite over two decades of focusing on energy efficiency. The second opportunity is to turn to renewable energy that does not burn fossil fuels as our primary energy source. Although there are pricing and supply chain challenges to manufacturing solar panels, replacing brown power with green power is our best opportunity for decarbonization. As the cost of solar panels has decreased, and the disastrous effects of climate change are linked to the burning of fossil fuels, the renewable energy market has grown significantly. 


What are the most important policies that need to be implemented to achieve decarbonization?

There are several policies to consider today. First, states should not be allowed to roll back their commitment to renewable energy. Second, building codes for new buildings should have a stricter energy code component. Third, major cities should require benchmarking so that buildings of a specific threshold size must report their energy use, and it should be made a part of building valuation. 


What are the most important roles that businesses, governments, and individuals can play?

The most important role that organizations or governments can play is creating a deeper awareness of the importance of energy conservation and supporting clean energy throughout their communities. Larger public corporations have long since provided leadership in reducing carbon emissions. However, small to midsize or privately-held businesses do not have the staffing or scrutiny to create and implement a carbon reduction plan. State, local and federal governments can play a role in creating more incentives for participation for small to midsize businesses, making this a more sustainable approach. 

What’s Next?

There are many things that businesses, communities, and you can do to help with decarbonization. Here are a few ideas:


  • Switch to renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power.
  • Improve your energy efficiency by making changes to your home or business.
  • Support policies that promote decarbonization.
  • Get involved in your community and advocate for decarbonization.


By taking these steps, you can help to make a difference.


Want to hear more? Unsure where to get started? Reach out to Joyce Parton at