Going Carbonneutral with Offsets

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Most power utilities in the US and Australia, and indeed in most countries outside the EU, do not yet face emission caps. This does not mean that they are uninterested in reducing their emissions. Utilities, along with other businesses and institutions, want to be, and to appear to be, good corporate citizens. The householders we were discussing are also motivated by the moral necessity to do the right thing to somehow mitigate the effects of the emissions that they are not able to avoid.

The cheapest options available for emissions abatement are adopted first. As abatement intensifies, the cheap options are exhausted and it

Note: There is a limit, in terms of costs, to the proportion of annual greenhouse gas emissions that can be abated by the company, institution or individual. The purchase of offsets in a renewable energy project and in a reforestation project, together with abatement, delivers carbon neutrality. The sequestration of one tonne of carbon in a reforestation project removes 3.67 tonnes of atmospheric CO2e.

Note: There is a limit, in terms of costs, to the proportion of annual greenhouse gas emissions that can be abated by the company, institution or individual. The purchase of offsets in a renewable energy project and in a reforestation project, together with abatement, delivers carbon neutrality. The sequestration of one tonne of carbon in a reforestation project removes 3.67 tonnes of atmospheric CO2e.

Figure 3.2 Achieving carbon neutrality by purchasing offsets becomes progressively more expensive to abate. In the case of households, car use is still necessary, the house must still be heated in winter and relatives must still be visited by air. Likewise, a utility that switches to gas still needs to emit greenhouse gases, albeit a lesser amount. An option that presents itself to entities wanting to become 'carbon-neutral' is not to cut emissions further, because this has become either very expensive or technically impossible, but instead to offset their remaining emissions by abating emissions elsewhere.

It is seen in Chapter 2 how parties to the Kyoto Protocol can offset emissions in other industrialized countries through Joint Implementation, or in developing countries through the CDM. In this chapter, however, the discussion centers on the purchase of offsets on a purely voluntary basis, and not because they are necessary for industry compliance under a mandatory cap and trade scheme or for countries meeting their Kyoto Protocol targets.

Figure 3.2 shows the introduction of carbon-neutral policy by a company, institution or individual through abatement and with offsets. Emissions are offset elsewhere through a renewable energy project, and a carbon sequestration (reforestation) project and these, together with the abatement of emissions, may confer 'carbon-neutrality'.

The markets for voluntary offsets are now described in terms of buyers, sellers, product differentiation and volumes.

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Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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