Scientistssay the earth is slowly warming due to carbon emitted into theatmosphere every day. This is as a result of burning fossil fuelsthat release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Fortunately orunfortunately, the industrial revolution has taken hundreds of yearsto make the current world hence, it is impossible to switch toclean-and-green world from energy-hungry world overnight.Consequently, some individuals and companies are using carbon offsetstrying to make a difference. They are forming projects such as treeplanting and investing in wind- power to compensate for carbondioxide damages. In theory, one can offset carbon emission by doingenvironmental work to minimize carbon damage. Unfortunately,Corporation, government, and individuals commit most environmentaldamages. On the other hand, other companies spend most of their timeinventing carbon offsets products to minimize these damages.
Whatis the carbon offset?
Nowadays,the problem of global warming is becoming more and more serious, andit is everyone responsibility to prevent it. Carbon offset is apractical and most effective way to deal with global warming issues,as well as support renewable energy. According to Baylisand Paulson (2011),carbonoffset, also carbon credits, is a reduction in emissions of carbondioxide, to offset emissions made in the environment. Carbon offsetsare measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e).One carbon offset consist of six greenhouse gases: methane (CH4),carbon dioxide (CO2),hydroflurocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfurhexafluoride (SF6),and nitrous oxide (N2O).According to Daviet(2009),one carbon offset reduces one metric ton of CO2.
Carbonoffset are sold and bought at trading platforms, online retailers, orthrough international brokers. Wind energy companies are known to bethe best sellers of carbon offsets. These companies greatly benefitfrom these businesses because carbon offsets are economically viable.On the other hand, the buyers also benefit as they save a lot ofmoney. It is less expensive to purchase carbon offsets than toeliminate carbon emission through other means (Wittmanand Caron, 2009).They are many activities that can generate carbon offsets bydisposing of fossils fuel such as the use of renewable energy, smallhydro energy, biomass energy, geothermal energy, and solarinstallation.
Featureof carbon offset/ carbon credits
Thecommon feature of carbon offset includes vintage, source, andcertification regime.
Vintage- Vintage refers to the year reduction of carbon takes place.
Source- Source refers to the technology used to offset emission of carbon. This includes biomass, methane, land-use, industrial and renewable energy efficiency.
Certification regime- Certification regime refers to the systems and procedure of certifying and registering offsets.
Backin 1930, meteorologists began to notice changes in weather trends.For example, the noticed winters were starting late and weregradually becoming warmer. By then, this was not a great concern, andthey assumed it was a natural occurrence. No one had an idea that thechanges were because of human activities. Stewart Callender, aBritish engineer realized these changes were due to increased burningof fossil fuels (Stephanand Peterson, 2012).As fuels burn, they emit carbon dioxide that stops sun heat to escapeto the atmosphere and instead return to the space. However, Callender idea did not become significant scientific discussion until laterin 1980s. Afterward, scientists come up with the idea of carbonoffsetting to reduce carbon emission into the air. For instance, in1989, a U.S based company promised to plants trees in Guatemala toseek authorization to construct a coal burning power position.
Reasonswhy carbon offsets are popular
Forthe last few decades, carbon offsetting has slowly become popularamong most people living in the developing countries. Many companieshave been started to produce carbon-offsetting product, and they aremarketing them locally and internationally (Wittmanet. al., 2009).Through these companies’ projects, people have learned aboutadvantages of carbon-offset products and the importance of minimizingcarbon emission.
Relationshipbetween the carbon offset and environment
Howcarbon offsets affect the environment
Carbonis one of the most significant causes of global warming. Conversely,carbon also is one of the most useful energy martial in the 21stcentury. Carbon offset plays a significant role in fighting climatechange. Nevertheless, it offers no solution if done in isolation. Theprocess of offsetting carbon provides a mechanism to reducegreenhouse gas emissions in a most economically, efficient andcost-effective manner. In addition, carbon offset cleans theenvironment hence create fresh air for breathing. Galatowitsch(2009), states that climate change can only be addressed whenbusinesses, government, organizations, and individuals takeresponsibility to reduce emission of carbon dioxide, as well asoffset the remaining emissions.
Thereare many advantages of carbon offset. Firstly, carbon offset/ carboncredits give an immediate and cost-effective way to reduce carbonemission. Besides, they make use of resource conservation andrenewable energy possible and in the meantime reduce risk and build areputation. Carbon offsets purify the environment by diminishinggreenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. This leads to clean air, qualitywater, as well as healthier communities.
Accordingto Spiekermann(2014),carbon offsetting plays a significant role in helping the world fightagainst global warming. For example, people are coming up withvaluable and lifelong environmental projects that otherwise wouldnever have happened. Today, people are investing in wind-energyproject hence, adding supply of renewable energy. As a result, theyreduce the fossil fuel amount that would be used in future, as wellas bring the world onto a greener pasture.
Carbonoffsetting also brings other “co-benefits” especially in thedeveloping countries. For instance, offsetting payment commands treeplanting in the protected wildlife reserve: hence, create new habitatfor wild animals and decline biodiversity. Correspondingly, itcreates job opportunities to the local people hence, uplift themfrom poverty. The country also benefit from extra revenue since thetourism industry is also uplift.
Further,offsetting projects supplies an “intermediate technology” topeople living the developing countries (Sabelli,2011).For example, they are now using low-tech solar cookers, which areless carbon-intensive fuel. Luckily, this has also reduced thenumbers of hours that women and children spend to collect firewood,and otherwise use to do other activities. Moreover, use of solarcookers has health benefits due to its reduction of wood fuel airpollution, which is the main cause of respiratory disease.
Asmuch as there are many benefits of carbon offsets, they have alsonegatively affected the value of life. For instance, carbonoffsetting has facilitated invention of solar cookers, which isadvantageous. On the other hand, it has negatively affected peoplewho earn a living by collecting and selling firewood to households.At some point, they are prone to become jobless if there will belonger usage of firewood (Bayliset. al., 2011).
Secondly,it is complex to quantify the benefits of carbon offsetting. Forinstance, it is complex to calculate the amount of carbon dioxidethat a tree can eliminate from the atmosphere in its lifetime. Inaddition, some of the offsetting projects criticize others. Sedjoand Macauley(201) urge that some of these projects are notoriously controversialsuch as tree-planting projects. Normally, it takes a decade for atree to grow. Therefore, trees will correspondingly take decades tooffers solutions caused today, and by then it might be too late.Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the offset trees will neverbe cut down through poor management or accidently burn in a forestfire hence release carbon dioxide. Sedjoet. al., (2012) also urges that there is no substitute for theancient forests no matter how much people plant trees.
Somecarbon-offset companies have been started to fight against excesscarbon dioxide in the air. For instance, Carbon Neutral Companyoffers a variety of carbon offsets/ carbon credit products bothlocally and internationally. Ever since its foundation in 1997,carbon-offset company is proud to be the top carbon offset providerboth in the open and voluntary market (Sabelli,2011).The company leads by example where to does its activities inrespective to its environmental and social goals and values. Inaddition, the company has worked to ensure they produce qualitycarbon offsets, as well as their carbon reduction programs, arecredible.
TheCarbon Neutral Company has a team of specialized expertise who workday and night to come up with high-quality projects. This is toensure what they also deliver benefit the community by offeringguaranteed emission reduction products, biodiversity, and localinfrastructure. The team is also aware of the quality assurancerequirements and the procedures of verifying, registering,validating, and retiring carbon offsets.
CarbonFootprint Company is another company that works toward carbonemission. Its main goals are come up with a carbon neutralenvironment, invests in a high-quality carbon reduction projects,make carbon neutral, and achieve CSR goals. The company offers avariety of carbon offset projects such as Certified EmissionReduction (CER), Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), and Gold StandardVoluntary Emission Reduction (VER). All Carbon Footprint Companyproducts are in line with PAS 2060 and meet PAS guidance that is,they are carbon neutrality (Lansing,2011).
Someof the successful projects of Carbon Footprint Company include
Improved cook stoves for social impact in Uganda (VER)
Sustainable deployment of a life straw family in Kenya (VER)
Cikel Brazilian Amazon Avoiding Planned Deforestation (VSR and FSC)
Improved household charcoal stoves in Ghana (VER)
North Wind Bangui Bay Project in Philippines (CER)
Mariposas Hydroelectric Project in Chile (VCS)
Yesil Hydroelectric power plant in Turkey (VCS), among others
Howshould we treat the carbon offset?
Whyit is popular but not familiar
Althoughcarbon offset is popular, it is also unfamiliar to many. Differentpeople have different views toward buying, selling, and using carbonoffsets. Some say it is unwelcomed distraction that waste time anddistract people from constructive business of emitting carbon. Theycriticize companies that boast to offset carbon with their“greenwash” and “dodgy accounting”. Stephanet. al., (2012), notes a critic of carbon offsetting, which states,“Buying and selling offsets is equivalent to placing a plate offood on the table to create an impression of eating”. Other peoplecriticize tree-planting programs. Maybe or maybe not these criticsare valid. Nevertheless, most carbon-offset programs are nowswitching to clean-energy from tree-planting program. Ultimately, theconcept whether carbon offsetting is valid or not depends on anindividual.
Theright way to use the carbon offset
Environmentalistsadvocates that people should reduce emission first, and then offsetemission they could not reduce. For instance, one should reduce thenumber of fights, use a bus instead of cars or a train instead ofplanes. If one need to use one of these, then one should consider themost appropriate means to offset carbon that are approved by CDN Goldstandard. However, this is very uncommon to a common human being.
Roza(2009), advocate that it is everyone’s responsibility to reduceemission. For companies and businesses, they can set up environmentalpolicies and actions to reduce carbon emission. They can do so byformulating a carbon management team to plan and set strategies toachieve this goal. On the other hand, there is a list of simplethings an individual can do to reduce emission
Turn off all electronic devices (TV, DVD player, Radio, Computer, among others) when not in use
Fit energy saving light bulbs
Install thermostatic valves on radiators
Share a car to work
For short distance either cycle or walk
Reduce the number of flights
Use tap water rather than bottled water
Buy organic produce
Recycle as much as possible
Asthe scientists discuss the issue of climate change, they cannotescape carbon-offsetting discussion too. However, the discussion andarguments are long and confusing, and the common human being hasneither time nor inclination to reads all these arguments to make hisor her conclusions. Nevertheless, every person has to reduceemissions prior use of carbon offsets. For businesses and individualalike, they should always limit the amount of carbon they releaseinto the atmosphere. In my opinion, small businesses and individualsshould use offsets to reduce emission while large businesses andcompanied should fund green energy projects. Once businesses andindividuals reduce emissions, then carbon offsetting should be thefinal step to a carbon neutral life. Eventually, there will be acutback of carbon emission in the atmosphere.
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