What Is Carbon Offset Market?
CO2 gas is known as the worst man caused factor for global greenhouse effect, which is an overwhelming problem for the mankind in 21-st century. However, there are certain mechanisms that help to reduce this negative effect to a certain extent, slowing down global warming processes. Carbon offset is defined as a tool that helps to reduce, avoid the release or capture of one metric ton of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas equivalent.
The market of voluntary carbon units or voluntary offset market includes all operations aimed at compensating for carbon footprint. At the same time, these carbon units are by definition excluded from use in an actively regulated or compliance carbon market. This does not include those offsets that are acquired for resale or retirement consumption in accordance with requirements related to the neutralization of carbon dioxide or due to another environmental imperative. Both voluntary and compliance markets are primarily aimed at preventing the deterioration of the climate and overall ecological situation on our planet.
Voluntary demand for carbon offsets is formed by companies and individuals who are aware of their responsibility to neutralize their ecological footprint. Such market participants are characterized as purely voluntary buyers. They also include companies that voluntarily purchase offsets before their emission reductions are dictated by the regulator. This category of buyers neutralizes harmful emissions for a number of reasons, mainly related to corporate social responsibility, ethics and reputation.
The voluntary offsets market exists side by side with the compliance market driven by authorized restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions. Within the framework of compliance market, regulated entities can acquire and issue allowances or offsets in an attempt to achieve the objectives set by the regulator. This market operates on a much broader scale than the voluntary market. In the case of cap-and-trade programs, often involving both emitters and financial intermediaries both parties are allowed to trade these allowances in order to profit from unused reserves or meet regulatory requirements.
The most active carbon offsetting programs which enable going CO2 neutral are the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which is a source of offsets for Parties to the Kyoto Protocol and the Gold Standard by WWF. (Another popular mechanism is Emissions Trading Scheme actively regulated in the European Union.)
3 Myths about Combatting the Climate Change
Global warming will make the place I live in warmer – woo-hoo!
There’s a reason why scientists are increasingly calling this process climate change. Climate is an incredibly complex system (just look at how often the weather forecasts are wrong!) and rising CO2 levels mess with it in a myriad of unpredictable ways.
This process does make many regions of the Earth hotter. According to some scientists, it could make the Middle East and parts of Africa literally uninhabitable, with midday temperatures regularly exceeding 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).
But on the other hand, this process could also make the Gulf Stream weaker, which would make Europe a much colder place. Unmitigated human intervention into complex systems, with all their mindboggling interconnections and feedback loops, can bring truly unexpected results.
Natural causes of climate change are much more important than human-related ones.
We have already addressed this issue a bit in our FAQ section. Some people believe that volcanoes emit much more CO2 than humans. Actually, they produce the amount which is only 1% of what we produce every year.
It’s true that more than 750 gigatons of carbon dioxide move through the carbon cycle in nature every year. However, nearly all of that amount is absorbed by land and oceans. The CO2 that humans emit, though, is not fully absorbed which contributes to the climate change. CO2 PPM (parts per mille) content in the atmosphere has increased by 100 in the past 120 years. Without humans such an increase would take from 5 to 20 thousand years.
CO2 neutral economy could have been possible in the Stone Age. Now it’s a pipe dream.
The whole idea behind CarbonFreeTravel is to help individuals become carbon neutral. And we also deeply believe that it is also a realistic goal for entire nations to drive their CO2 emissions to zero, or even make them negative.
One of the ways to build a carbon neutral economy is by using 100% renewable energy. That seemed to be very unrealistic goals not a lot time ago. However now, as energy from solar is increasingly becoming cheaper than that from fossil fuels, and with advances in battery technologies that would allow to store electricity for consumption during night hours, it is becoming an achievable task.
The second promising technology is carbon capture. It works like that. First you grow some plants – like corn or sugarcane. These plants capture CO2 from the atmosphere. You then harvest those plants and turn them into biofuels. And after that you burn them at a power plant – producing green electricity – and then bury the CO2 resulting from emissions in deep underground wells or mines. This cycle captures more and more carbon dioxide as you repeat it.