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What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Carbon offsets aren’t the optimal solution but they are a useful option in the process of transitioning towards a transition away from fossil fuels. It’s impossible for a society to turn off the lights and go away from fossil fuels immediately. In the meantime carbon offsets play a element of the puzzle as environmentally conscious and forward-thinking players work towards the foundation for a sustainable future.

In this article, we’ll examine a more in-depth look an examination of carbon offsets: what they are, the reasons they’re important, arguments for their benefits, and the arguments against them.

What is Carbon Offsetting?

Carbon offset is a method that allows funds to be directed to projects that reduce global emissions. People or companies often purchase carbon offsets, instead of cutting their carbon footprint, when emissions appear impossible to avoid, or combine both in order to make their efforts to reduce emissions increase.

Carbon offset projects can include effective cookers in villages, bio-gas generation from organic matter, and a range of initiatives aimed at reducing deforestation, or regenerating forest areas that are degraded.

The process of certifying projects as being eligible to offset carbon emissions isn’t simple. Carbonbay is engaged in guiding project through the Byzantine regulation maze which have been established as part of the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to make sure that not only emissions reductions are legitimate and legal, but also that there’s no existing financing to support projects of this kind. This usually means that they’re a deviation from the norm and have a low chance of success without credits. Emissions reduction credits permit projects to get compensation for each metric ton of carbon emissions sucked up. They are able to be verified with CDM or other standards that are respected such as The Gold Standard, and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).

Carbon offset … assists environmental projects that don’t have funds by themselves.”

Carbon Offsetting: The Pros of Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offset has advantages both sides of the process. It helps environmental projects that cannot get funds on their own and also gives businesses the chances to lower the carbon emissions of their operations.

There are many companies that can’t cut their carbon emissions to the extent they’d like. In some instances, it is due to the fact that their footprint is already very small (e.g. software companies) however they would like to expand their reach. Other industries, for instance, heavy equipment and ocean transportation, don’t have the low-carbon options to meet their needs in the moment. Through funding projects to reduce emissions, companies can help offset the emissions they aren’t able to eliminate themselves.

While the majority of offset purchases are not required however, there are certain jurisdictions where offset purchases are required to conform to local regulations and standards to be able to avoid penalty. This is yet another advantage of using the offset method. It allows regulators to enforce environmental regulations.

Some companies also employ offsets to prove that the majority or all of their operations are “carbon zero” or “carbon positive.” They also provide an opportunity for these businesses to measure their own carbon footprint. The majority of people nowadays prefer to do business with companies that use offsets.

Carbon offset provides valuable resources for projects that typically capture carbon through forest growth or other methods, or reduce emission, for example, the generation of renewable electricity or energy appliances. By focusing on projects which will not receive other kinds of financing like a unique project in a particular region They can be a great alternative to traditional finance methods.

Once a project that is successful is achieved by offsetting and proved to be viable it’s usually simpler for follow-on, similar projects to get funding from different sources.

Studies have proven offsetting to be a viable method to lower greenhouse gases.

Pros and Cons of Carbon Offsetting

Many criticisms have been directed at carbon offsets as well. Certain of them are philosophical in their criticism of the idea that rich companies can purchase their way out of the carbon market, instead of taking greater accountability for their carbon emissions. Others argue that offsets undermine the pressure for more aggressive collective action like carbon tax. Are offsets letting polluters free of the burden too easily?

Others suggest more practical issues:

Certain forests that are protected by offsets were later discovered to have been burned or cut down. It is possible that this could be deliberate by those receiving offsets.
Are the credit cards really needed are they really necessary, or would the work be completed without the credits?
Are carbon measurements accurate? and can the organizations that monitor their accuracy be trusted to conduct the right accounting?
What is the problem with fraud?
Is global warming taking place too quickly for carbon offsets to prove useful?

There are some pertinent questions. Although no system is perfect however, the majority of these issues have been recognized and will be addressed in the future as carbon standards and methods evolve.

Carbon offsets aren’t intended to replace immediate action but instead as a complement or in some cases, the only possible option. For instance, the airline industry, for instance is a major user of offsets since there is no feasible way for commercial aircraft to fly without fossil fuels. In the international scheme called CORSIA the airlines will be able to stop the emission levels for 2019/2020 and promise to offset any increase in emissions after 2021.

In the case of forests disappearing following the qualification as offsets issue was addressed in the most recent VCS standard, which allows payment to be made to carbon sequestration in forests which has already occurred for example, over the last decade. To mitigate further risk, a portion of the credits paid are allocated to “pooled buffers” to help cover unexpected loss, similar to the insurance policies.

The measurement process is also changing. The renewable power projects tend to be easy to quantify, as it is only necessary to take a look at the meters. The land-use and forest projects might be more difficult, however, models are getting better and technology like GPS and satellite imagery drones are now useful in providing a clearer view of how much carbon is still stored.