Are carbon offset good for the environment?

May 17, 2022

These are the costs of carbon offsets

In summary, carbon offsets are a popular tool for decarbonization given their ease of use, co-benefits, narrative building, and unique use-cases, but they do have some limitations. The offsets provide direct finance to different projects, and it is important to ensure that your organization is selecting projects which are registered with the top trusted registries. There is a risk of being viewed as ‘indulging’ in polluting behavior and using the offsets as a cover, so businesses should consider implementing offsets to build a narrative, reduce unavoidable scope 1 emissions, scope 3 (value-chain) emissions, historical emissions, events, and business travel.

Demonstration of a massive number of trees

To offset even a fraction of our global CO2 emissions, we would have to plant AND protect a massive number of trees for decades. A newly planted tree could take upwards of 20 years to capture the amount of CO2 that a carbon offset program promises. Furthermore, there is always the risk of droughts, wildfires, tree diseases, and deforestation wiping out newly planted trees Forestry projects that promote the sequestration and absorption of CO2 by soils and forests. The Woodland Trust, the National Forest, and Trees for Cities are examples of projects to support carbon offsetting in the UK.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency: These offset projects are designed to create products or systems that use less energy than conventional systems to perform the same task. The projects are typically implemented in developing countries and provide native people with increased energy security, job creation, improved quality of life, and environmental mitigation. However, If products are replaced too quickly, the amount of CO2 required to produce the new product would exceed the amount of CO2 saved with the new product These projects are usually (but not exclusively) located in developing countries and are designed to reduce future emissions.

Cool Effect offsets cost

Depending on the project, Cool Effect’s offsets cost between $3 and $13 per ton of carbon dioxide. For instance, the group offers a $6. 60 per ton offset in the form of restoring a peat swamp in Indonesia that sequesters carbon, a project that also employs more than 400 local workers and provides micro-financing in the community. The validation report for the project is 67 pages long and involved a site visit to confirm its performance, calculating and measuring how trees in the area grow over time, how water flows change, and how that influences carbon absorption The price of 1 metric ton of CO2 offset can vary greatly between projects. For example, one forestry project might only cost $8/MT to offset, while a specific wind project could be $20/MT.

A very low cost

However, we also need to consider that the price of a carbon credit must account for the costs of setting up a project, it’s ongoing monitoring, and the cost of gaining verification. Most importantly, it must enable its long-term viability. This project could be in any country in the world and take a variety of forms and scales. Therefore, it is natural that these costs will vary significantly A carbon offsetting project implemented in a developed country cannot always be subject to the generation of carbon credits. This economic contribution thus contributes to the financing of a carbon offset project.

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