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CARBON OFFSETTING & REMOVAL

This is often an overlooked fact, but the current concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and its near-future expected trends are too high to stay below a 1.5°C/ 2.7°F increase. Carbon will need to be removed from the atmosphere. If some distant technology might help, nature already provides a readily available answer : trees and other natural sinks (such as soils, mangrova, wetlands…) take CO2 out of the atmosphere.

OFFSETTING EMISSIONS

Offsetting is a way to reduce the impact of one's emissions by buying emissions reduction done by someone else. For instance you could buy carbon credits from a wind farm installed in South America, whose project would not have been possible without the additional funding from the selling of the offsets. You still emitted X g of CO2 in the atmosphere but you helped families in a developed countries to get clean electricity from wind vs gas generator.

 

However, offsetting is not a viable long-term option, as our goal is globally to be zero emission by 2050, and should be used as the last resort. As such, offsetting should never prevent us from actively reducing our emissions.

The market for carbon offsets is quite fragmented and goes from UN-approved credits (used by countries and cap-and-trades under the UNFCCC framework) to voluntary offsets.

The voluntary offsets market is trying to self-regulate itself by establishing certification procedures to ensure the quality of the offsets sold, with Gold Standard being the leading standard. You can browse the portfolio of Gold Standard projects and buy offsets directly HERE.

Disclaimer: we are not affiliated in any way with Gold Standard. We are only referencing them in this post as they are the leading standard on the voluntary market for carbon offsets.

REMOVING EMISSIONS

Removing emissions from the atmosphere is actually soaking historic emissions out of the atmosphere and stocking them permanently in the soil or in the ground for instance. Protecting and increasing permanently forests covers worldwide is a powerful tool and a natural solution with many co-benefits to help fight climate change.

You can use a non-profit to plant trees for you (trees soak up around 10kg CO2 per year, so over 30 years one tree will remove 0,3t CO2). On the #GiftMeATree page of Parents For Future Seattle, you will find a list of US non-profits who will plant trees for you: HERE

Technologies are being developed to offer new removal options. We will update this sections as they become available for individual to use.

© 2023 Helene Costa de Beauregard and Anita Bagdi 

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