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The Pros and Cons of Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offsets aren’t the optimal solution but they are a useful option as the world moves towards a transition away from fossil fuels. It’s impossible for a society to change a switch and completely eliminate fossil fuels in a matter of minutes. Therefore, for the time being carbon offsets play a element of the puzzle as environmentally conscious and forward-thinking actors strive to build the foundation for a sustainable future.

We’ll look at a deeper understanding review of carbon offsets, what they are, the reasons they are important, arguments in favor of their benefits, and the criticisms they face.

What is Carbon Offsetting?

Carbon offset is a method whereby funds are redirected to projects that reduce global emissions. People or companies often purchase carbon offsets rather than decreasing their carbon footprints when emissions appear inevitable, or they use both methods to help their emissions reduction efforts increase.

Carbon offset projects can include effective stoves for cooking 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 to be eligible for carbon offsets isn’t an easy task. Carbonbay is involved in shepherding initiatives through the Byzantine regulatory maze that were established in the framework of the U.N.’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to ensure that not just emissions reductions are legal however, 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 every metric tonne of carbon emissions sucked up. They can be verified through CDM or other standards that are respected such as The Gold Standard, and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).

“Carbon offset … assists environmental projects that aren’t able to get funds by themselves.”

What are the Pros of Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offset can be beneficial both ways through the process. It aids environmental projects that cannot get financing 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 certain cases, this is due to the fact that their footprint is already tiny (e.g. software companies) However, they’d like to expand their reach. Other industries, for instance, heavy equipment as well as ocean transport, do not have low-carbon alternatives to meet their needs currently. Through helping fund environmental projects that cut emissions, companies can compensate for the carbon emissions they cannot eliminate themselves.

Although many offset purchases are not required but there are some areas where offset purchases are required to conform to local regulations and standards to be able to avoid fines. This is yet another advantage of using the offset method. It provides regulators with a means to enforce environmental laws.

Others make use of offsets to demonstrate that the majority or all of their operations are “carbon non-carbon” or “carbon positive.” Additionally, offsets provide the structure needed 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 can be a valuable resource for projects that typically capture carbon by utilizing forest growth and other methods, or reduce emissions, like the generation of renewable electricity or energy appliances. Through focusing on projects that tend to be less likely receive other kinds of financing for example, a unique one in a particular region and provide a viable alternative to traditional financing mechanisms.

Once a project that is successful is achieved by offsetting and has proven to be viable it’s usually more straightforward for similar follow-on projects to be able to draw funding from other sources.

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

Pros and Cons of Carbon Offsetting

A variety of criticisms have been directed at carbon offsets as well. They are often philosophical in nature in their criticism of the idea that corporations with wealth can buy their way out of the carbon market, instead of taking greater accountability for their carbon emissions. Others argue that offsets undermine the need for more drastic collective action like carbon tax. Are offsets letting polluters free of the burden too easily?

Others point to 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 the people who received the offsets.
Are the credit cards really needed and could it be completed without the credits?
Are carbon measurements accurate? and can the organizations that monitor their accuracy be trusted to conduct an accounting that is accurate?
How do you deal with fraud?
Is global warming taking place too fast to allow carbon offsets to be beneficial?

There are pertinent questions. While there is no perfect system However, many of these issues have been recognized and will be addressed in the future as carbon standards and practices change.

Carbon offsets aren’t intended to substitute for immediate action but instead as a supplement or, in certain cases, the only possible option. The aviation industry, for instance is a major user of offsets since there is no method for commercial aircrafts to fly without fossil fuels. As part of an international program called CORSIA which will allow them to stop the emission levels for 2019/2020 and have pledged to offset any increase in emissions starting from 2021.

In the case of forests disappearing after qualifying to offset offsets issue was addressed in the most recent VCS standard, which permits payment to be made to carbon sequestration in forests that has already taken place for example, over the last decade. To mitigate further risks, a certain percentage of credits that are paid are put aside in “pooled buffers” to protect against unexpected damages, similar to the insurance policies.

The measurement process is also changing. Projects that use renewable energy are the easiest to gauge, as it is only necessary to check the meters. The land-use and forest projects might be more difficult, however, the models are evolving, and new technologies such as GPS satellite imagery, drones are now useful to provide a better image of the amount of carbon that remains stored.