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What are carbon offsets?

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What are carbon offsets?

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A Carbon Offset represents the decrease of one metric ton (2.205 lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions. The reduction is caused by projects developed to reduce the emissions, and by purchasing offsets, you help finance these projects. These offsets can be bought, traded, and sold.

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Carbon offsets are generated by initiatives or projects which mitigate or “neutralize” the impact of a carbon emission. This can be any type of project that can demonstrate quantifiable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, such as, preserving forests (sequestration) or planting trees.

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A carbon offset is a market-based mechanism by which the impact of emitting a ton of greenhouse gases (GHG) like carbon dioxide (CO2) can be negated or diminished by either avoiding the release of a ton elsewhere, or absorbing a ton of GHG or CO2 from the air that otherwise would have remained in the atmosphere. Renewable energy, energy efficiency, reforestation and afforestation are all strategies for offsetting. Carbon offsetting occurs whenever someone pays someone else to reduce CO2 emissions on their behalf. Although reducing your personal and business-related emissions is the best way to address global climate change, carbon offsetting is the least expensive and one of the most convenient ways to offset unavoidable emissions.

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A carbon offset is an emissions reduction credit. These credits are sold through organizations that invest in renewable energy projects or in energy efficiency initiatives. The Kyoto Proctocol mandates that carbon offsets must be real, verified and additional to what would have otherwise occurred. The carbon offset market allows businesses to recognize and financially support the shift from fossil fuel to renewable energy. A carbon offset credit represents one ton of greenhouse gas emission reductions or avoided emissions. The purchased VERs meet the standards set by one of several verification organizations. These include Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), Gold Standard, California Climate Action Registry (CCAR), and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

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• A carbon offset is an emission-reduction credit that you can buy through an organization that specializes in carbon offsets. The organization will invest the money you pay to offset your emissions into projects that produce cleaner, renewable energy, such as wind farms or solar installations, thereby replacing energy sources that produce greenhouse gases.

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