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Understanding What Is Carbon Offsetting

The film features 32 snowboarders who perform amazing tricks while slicing across the rough terrain of North America and Europe, Burton’s latest documentary One World is an epic celebration of snowboarding.

As a leader in sustainability and one whose customers rely on a healthy, healthy environment to pursue their passions, Burton realized that the simple act of making a fantastic film was not enough. The company also sought to reduce the environmental impact of the many trips, snowmobile rides and other emissions that are associated when making the film. As a Certified B Corporation, the company is a proven leader in supporting climate policies and minimizing the environmental impacts of its products as well as operations.

In the course of One World, Burton worked together with Bank of the West to reduce the carbon footprint of the production through the purchase of carbon offsets, an increasingly popular way through which corporations and other organizations collaborate to mitigate their environmental footprints. Burton and Bank of the West teamed up to aid in the sequestration of 563 tonnes of CO2 supporting a forest protection project along the Alaskan coast. This is equivalent to removing cars from the roads for a whole year.

Emily Foster, Burton’s environmental impact manager, says that the company’s decision-making in this instance was a blend of optimism and practicality.

“We are looking forward to the day when people are able to travel around the globe and pursue their passions powered entirely by renewable energy sources, but we’re still not there as a species,” Foster explains. “For emissions that aren’t eliminated currently, we are investing in carbon credits of the highest quality, validated and certified that help reduce greenhouse gases and help protect ecosystems. Although carbon offsets aren’t the answer, we do use them as a way to make ourselves accountable and act while low-carbon alternatives emerge.”

Carbon offsets like Foster suggests they aren’t a perfect solution but they are a useful option as the world moves to a more sustainable energy source. It is impossible for us to turn off the lights and go away from fossil fuels immediately. In the meantime carbon offsets play a part of the equation as environmentally conscious and forward-thinking players work towards an environmentally sustainable future.

In this article, we’ll examine a more in-depth look review of carbon offsets, what they are, the reasons they’re important, arguments in support of their use, as well as some of the arguments against carbon offsets.

What is Carbon Offsetting?

Carbon offsets are a method whereby funds are redirected to projects that reduce global emissions. Businesses or individuals often purchase carbon offsets rather than cutting their carbon footprints in situations where carbon emissions are inevitable, or they use both methods to help their emissions reduction efforts extend.

Carbon offset projects can include effective stoves for cooking in villages, bio-gas production using organic matter, and a range of projects that aim to reduce deforestation and regenerating forests that have been damaged.

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 legitimate and legal, but also that there isn’t any existing funding that could be used for projects of this kind. This usually means that they’re a deviation from normal business practices and have no chances of success without credits. Credits for emission reduction allow projects to be compensated for each 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.”

Carbon Offsetting: The Pros of Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offset can be beneficial at both ends It aids environmental projects that cannot get funds on their own and also gives businesses the opportunities to reduce the carbon emissions of their operations.

There are many companies that can’t cut their emissions to the extent they’d like. In certain cases, this is due to the fact that their footprint is already very small (e.g. software companies) However, they’d like to grow their business. Other industries, like heavy equipment as well as ocean transport, do not have low-carbon alternatives to meet their needs currently. By assisting in the financing of environmental projects that cut emissions, businesses can help make their way up for emissions they aren’t able to eliminate themselves.

Although most offset purchases are not required but there are certain areas where offset purchases are required to meet local laws and regulations to be able to avoid penalty. This is yet another advantage of this system of carbon offset. It allows regulators to enforce environmental regulations.

Some companies also make use of offsets to demonstrate that the entirety or a portion of their operations are “carbon zero” or “carbon positive.” Additionally, offsets provide the structure needed for these companies to monitor their carbon footprint. The majority of people are now more comfortable doing business with these companies.

Carbon offset can be a valuable resource to projects that usually absorb carbon by utilizing forest growth or other methods, or reduce emissions, like green energy production or energy appliances. By focusing on projects which tend to be less likely be able to draw other kinds of funding for example, a unique one in a particular region and provide a viable alternative to traditional financing mechanisms.

After a successful project has been realized through offset and has proven to be viable it’s generally simpler for follow-on, similar projects to be able to draw funding from other sources.

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Offsetting has been proven by reliable studies to be a viable method to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Cons and Cons of Carbon Offsetting

Many criticisms have been directed at carbon offsets as well. They are often philosophical in nature and oppose the notion that corporations with wealth can buy their way out of the carbon market, instead of taking on greater accountability for their carbon emissions. Others argue that they undermine the pressure for more aggressive 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 burned or burned or logged. This could be intentional on the part of those who were credited with the offsets.
Are the credit cards really needed are they really necessary, or would the task be completed without the credits?
Are carbon measurements accurate? and can the organizations that monitor these measurements be relied upon 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 valid questions to be asked here. While there is no perfect system However, these concerns have been identified and will be addressed in the future as carbon standards and methods evolve.

Carbon offsets are not designed to replace directly taking action. They are instead as a supplement or, in certain instances, the only alternative. The aviation industry, for instance is a major user of offsets because there is no way for commercial aircraft to fly without using fossil fuels. As part of an international program called CORSIA which will allow them to limit emissions in 2019/2020 and promise to offset any increase in emissions starting from 2021.

In the case of forests disappearing after qualifying as offsets issue was addressed in the most recent VCS standard, which permits payment to be made to carbon sequestration by forests that have already taken place, for instance over the past 10 years. To reduce risk, a portion of credits that are paid are saved to be placed in “pooled buffers” to help cover unexpected damages, similar to an insurance plan.

The way we measure is also changing. Projects that use renewable energy are the easiest to quantify, as you only need to check the meters. Land-use projects like forestry might be more difficult However, the models are becoming more accurate and technology like GPS and satellite imagery drones are becoming useful in providing a clearer image of the amount of carbon that remains stored.
How to Find and Offset Your carbon footprint

Carbon offset is a common practice for businesses. However, banks have partnered with tech companies to engage consumers in. For instance, Swedish fintech startup Doconomy is collaborating in Finland’s Aland Bank to help regular customers understand the carbon footprint of the majority of purchases.

The Aland Index calculates the carbon footprint of every item purchased by consumers by analyzing more than 200 variables. Paula DiPerna, who was key in the creation of the first world-wide trading system for cap-and trade in the year 2003 describes the index “a game changer” which converts the intangibles into an amount in dollars. The consumer can then utilize the value of a dollar to offset the carbon emissions produced by the product to make the purchase carbon-neutral.

“The index was developed … in order to make the world heard in every purse and at every point of sale.”

Helena Mueller, the head of Aland Index Solutions and co-founder of Doconomy

Based on Helena Mueller, head of Aland Index Solutions and co-founder of Doconomy, “the index was designed to create a common standard for climate-related issues for all personal financial management, establishing a reliable global standard, and also to give the world a voice every purse and at every point-of-sale.”

Customers are able to access the index using the DO application. It’s available only in Sweden however, Bank of the West teamed along with Doconomy for the purpose of bringing it into the US to be part of the 1 percent Planet account1,2. With the mobile banking application you can use you can use Aland Index is applied to transactions to calculate automatically the carbon footprint for purchases that are made using one percent of Planet debit card.

“The carbon footprint can be shown in kilo or pounds released as well as Carbon’s social costs, i.e. the “real cost” of a product or service, after the negative impact of climate change are accounted in,” Mueller says. Mueller. “The bank in this instance, Bank of the West, is then able to let their customers see the carbon footprint of transactions by the day or week, month and the entire year.”

Armed with this information the individual consumer can be in charge of the carbon footprint they leave behind. It’s true that it’s impossible to change what you don’t know about.