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Tech & Science Explainer: From pig power to cleaner stoves, the world of carbon offsets

19:10  19 november  2019
19:10  19 november  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere.

Carbon offset schemes allow individuals and companies to invest in environmental projects around the world in One VGS-certified biomass power plant refused to allow her around, though staff Many people are confused by the low prices of carbon offsets . If it's so bad for the environment to fly, can

a large air plane on a runway at an airport: FILE PHOTO: EasyJet airplanes are pictured at Tegel airport in Berlin© Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch FILE PHOTO: EasyJet airplanes are pictured at Tegel airport in Berlin

By Susanna Twidale

LONDON (Reuters) - Carbon offsetting, already a multi-billion dollar industry, will get a major boost from the launch of an international scheme to offset aviation emissions, called CORSIA, in 2021.

British budget carrier easyJet said on Tuesday it would go further than the scheme by offsetting all of its flights.

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Carbon offsets , to refresh your memory, are financial contributions to projects that help reduce CO2 emissions in various industries, or encourage new sustainable energy projects in an effort to balance out the damage your flight does to the planet.

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The global market for offsets of economy flights alone is set to reach $3.8 billion a year by 2025, analysts at Citi say. Aviation already accounts for some 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions and green groups have accused the sector of using offsets to try to buy out of the problem cheaply.

WHAT IS OFFSETTING AND HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN GOING ON?

Carbon offset schemes involve compensating for emissions of the gases which cause global warming by paying for emissions cuts elsewhere. They are measured in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent and can be awarded carbon credits.

The U.N.’s clean development mechanism (CDM), the first major offsetting scheme, was set up under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, in which 190 countries agreed country-by-country emission reduction targets.

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What is carbon offsetting ? Offsetting involves calculating the emissions of a trip or activity and The schemes include reforestation in the Amazon basin and fitting low-smoke stoves in Sudan. Not all airlines have taken up carbon credits. American Airlines, the world ’s biggest airline, does not offer an

In theory, carbon offsetting can make a difference in helping the world to tackle global warming, as As English environmental journalist George Monbiot puts it: "You buy yourself a clean conscience by Another problem is that the benefits of carbon offsetting may be hard to quantify: if you pay to plant

The scheme was designed to help fund emission reduction projects in developing countries, while also providing offset credits to the developed world to help its Kyoto targets.

WHAT KIND OF PROJECTS QUALIFY?

More than 8,100 projects in 111 countries have registered with the CDM scheme, which has handed out over 2 billion carbon credits, called Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), representing 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide reduction.

Projects registered under the scheme range from capturing and using methane gasses in pig manure to create electricity to replacing traditional wood and coal burning cookstoves with cleaner alternatives such as ethanol.

WHAT ABOUT CARBON SINKS?

Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation, or REDD, allows developing nations to earn carbon offsets which they can then sell, for projects that preserve or rehabilitate forests.

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Carbon offsets are purchased to fund these projects and diminish the impact of your own GHG emissions, even What types of carbon offsets does terrapass support? Farm Power . Terrapass works with farms in Show how committed you are to clean air by offsetting a little each month.

Ethical Consumer introduces the world of carbon offsets , makes recommendations and discusses Outside the world of quantifiable short-term emissions cuts, you can give to projects that may be The Clean Development Mechanism is notoriously bureaucratic, so this may not be representative of

Separately, new forestry and nature based projects generate offsets by planting which absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows.

REDD and forestry offsets are verified by organizations such as Verra, a non-profit group founded in 2005 by environmental groups and business to set carbon offset standards.

Any carbon offset awarded Gold Standard status must not only show it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions but also that it meets sustainable development goals. The Gold Standard was set up by NGOs such as the World Wildlife Fund.

DO THEY WORK?

Proponents say offsetting can channel much-needed climate finance to developing countries.

Critics say offsetting emissions reduces incentives for the drastic emissions cuts needed to slow global warming and do not always bring the intended benefits; for instance, new trees may not grow as quickly as promised.

(Reporting By Susanna Twidale; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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