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The Essence of Carbon Offsetting in Reaching Climate Goals

To be in line with the Paris Agreement and Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) requirements to keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius and pursue limiting the increase at 1.5 degrees Celsius most advanced economies around the globe have embraced ambitious low-carbon transition targets.

A carbon offset is an essential tool in enabling a transition to a sustainable future by reducing or omittance of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. It is evident that carbon emitted in one area or vicinity will impact beyond that specific environment, given the interconnectedness of ecosystems. Given this, a carbon offset can occur in a different location than where the emission took place. Yes, unfortunately, it is unfair that non-emitters will face the consequences of the actions taken by emitters. However, suppose you try to look into it from another angle. In that case, the abundance of such emissions potentially provides companies incentives and opportunities to compensate for their emission by planting trees in more fertile soil.

As Bill Gates starts his book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” highlighting the key concern regarding climate change and critical focus area by stating the latter:

There are two numbers you need to know about climate change. The first is 51 billion. The other is zero. Fifty-one billion is how many tons of greenhouse gases the world typically adds to the

atmosphere every year. – Zero is what we need to aim for.” 

This article will touch upon two most popular schemes, highly utilized by large emitters – revitalization of nature and investments in Direct Carbon Capturing technologies. The first one is more widely utilized, and the latter attract large investors.

There are many certified companies around the globe offering Offset Projects for such businesses, making sure the client’s vision and mission are in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals. Among Carbon Offset projects, the most popular and notable ones are related to revitalizing nature and reforestation. 

Managing Director of Global Lands for The Nature Conservancy, Justin Adam, highlights such mechanism’s significance by stating, “If we are to be serious about climate change, we have to get serious about investing in nature.”

Developing and implementing next-generation carbon capture use and storage technologies can be another solution to our global problem. Currently, such technologies attract intense fossil emitting industries and countries that envision decarbonizing innovatively. Carbon capture storages enable the direct capturing of carbon dioxide from fossil-intensive industrial processes such as steel and cement production or from the burning of fossil fuels in power generation. Canada holding a global leadership position in the deployment of Carbon Capture, Use, and Storage (CCUS) technologies, foresee the significance of the technology to enable a smooth transition toward decarbonization by reducing emissions arising from fossil fuel use (Generation Energy Council 2018). 

Resources:

IEA. 2019. Global Energy & CO2 Status Report 2019. Accessed from the International Energy Agency on  March 21. URL: https://www.iea.org/reports/global-energy-co2-status-report-2019

Gates, B. (2021). How to avoid a climate disaster: the solutions we have and the breakthroughs we need. First large print edition. New York: Random House Large Print.

Generation Energy Council. 2018. Canada’s Energy Transition: Getting to Our Energy Future Together. Generation Energy Council Report, June. URL: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/sites/www.nrcan.gc.ca/files/energy/CoucilReport_july4_EN_Web.pdf 

Government of Canada. 2016. Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change: Canada’s plan to address climate change and grow the economy. URL: http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2017/eccc/En4-294-2016-eng.pdf

Jesse P. (2018) Forget Bitcoin, Planting Trees Can Offer Amazing Returns. Finance and Investment – Sustainable Brands. Retrieved from: https://sustainablebrands.com/read/finance-investment/forget-bitcoin-planting-trees-can-offer-amazing-returns

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