Carbon offset projects have the potential to extract huge amounts of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Projects slow global warming and buy us time for the world to make the transition to low-emission economies. They are financed by Carbon Offset Certificates which represents the amount in tonnes of carbon dioxide abated from the atmosphere. We only recommend projects that are efficient and offer value for money to the buyer. Some carbon-offset projects can be scams. In one notorious case, a Hungarian company, KlimaFa, produced offset certificates for millions of trees that were never planted.
Projects must be certified to world standards.
Information on the project is made readily available.
Projects should offer efficient methods to reduce carbon.
Projects must be able to deliver results that can be readily seen.
Types of Projects
The different types of projects include:
and conservation projects focus on natural carbon sinks such as forests.
to build or maintain chiefly solar, wind or hydro sites around the world.
projects that help to introduce energy-efficient technology to undeveloped communities.
Waste to energy
projects that often involve capturing methane and converting it into electricity.
projects which seek to reduce the overall demand for energy.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) asserts that we must limit global warming to 1.5˚C to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change. It has laid out four means of achieving this, and all of them rely on removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- This is because even if we cut most of our carbon emissions down to zero, emissions are virtually impossible to eliminate altogether.
- Carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere can affect climate for hundreds to thousands of years.
- The IPCC maintains that carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies will be critical to get rid of 100 to 1000 gigatonnes of CO2 this century.
- There are a variety of CDR strategies, all in different stages of development, and varying in cost, benefits and risks. CDR approaches that employ trees, plants and soil to absorb carbon have been used at large scale for decades; other strategies that rely more on technology are mostly at the demonstration or pilot stages. Each strategy has pros and cons.
Afforestation and reforestation
As plants and trees grow, they take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into sugars through photosynthesis. In this way, U.S. forests absorb 13 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions; globally, forests store almost a third of the world’s emissions.
Soil carbon sequestration
The carbon that plants absorb from the atmosphere in photosynthesis becomes part of the soil when they die and decompose. It can remain there for millennia or it can be released quickly depending on climatic conditions and how the soil is managed. Minimal tillage, cover crops, crop rotation and leaving crop residues on the field help soils store more carbon.
This strategy exploits a natural process wherein reactive materials like peridotite or basaltic lava chemically bond with CO2, forming solid carbonate minerals such as limestone that can store CO2 for millions of years.
Direct air capture
Direct air capture sucks carbon dioxide out of the air by using fans to move air over substances that bind specifically to carbon dioxide. The technology employs compounds in a liquid solution or in a coating on a solid that capture CO2 as they come into contact with it; when later exposed to heat and chemical reactions, they release the CO2, which can then be compressed and stored underground.
Rocks and soil become weathered by reacting with CO2 in the air or in acid rain, which naturally occurs when CO2 in air dissolves in rainwater. The rocks break down, creating bicarbonate, a carbon sink, which is eventually carried into the ocean where it is stored.
Ocean fertilization would add nutrients, often iron, to the ocean to prompt algal blooms, which would absorb more CO2 through photosynthesis.
Coastal blue carbon
Salt marshes, mangroves, sea grasses and other plants in tidal wetlands are responsible for more than half of the carbon sequestered in the ocean and coastal ecosystems. This blue carbon can be stored for millennia in the plants and sediments.
Each CDR technology is feasible at some level, but has uncertainties about cost, technology, the speed of possible implementation, or environmental impacts. It’s clear that no single one provides the ultimate solution to climate change.
We offer a range of certificates through our associates at Southpole, a leading company that develops and implements comprehensive emission reduction projects and strategies.