The role of carbon offsets in our current environment
Taking action to decarbonise our lifestyles, societies and economies is vital and time critical, as the aftermath of overlooking our responsibilities in these areas has catastrophic consequences. These future considerations ensure we must continually evolve and adapt to a wide and varied range of alternatives to efficiently reduce the amount of carbon emissions in our atmosphere.
After years of in-depth and specifically targeted research into how companies can positively tackle climate action, the forward-thinking practice of offsetting carbon emissions now plays an important role. We also refer to this process as the purchase of carbon credits. These credits assist companies in offsetting their emissions by supporting projects that reduce or avoid the release of emissions into the atmosphere.
At Tasman Environmental Markets (TEM), we source, appraise and risk manage carbon credits from offset projects that support communities, technological advancement and ecological protection while mitigating climate change.
What is carbon offsetting and how does it work?
Carbon offsetting is a crucial part of an organisation’s net zero strategy. A measurable and transparent way to neutralise a business’s carbon footprint through investment in dedicated and sustainable projects that provide social and economic benefits to communities. For most organisations, going carbon neutral today is not possible without the use of offsets because it takes time to implement zero-emissions practices (100% renewable energy, electric fleet etc). In this way, carbon offsetting enables organisations (and their customers) to take immediate, impactful action on climate change.
The offsetting process can be simply explained: if a company emits one tonne of carbon dioxide, they purchase one carbon credit to neutralise or offset this emission. This process – carbon offsetting – removes the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a measurable form through methods including replacing fossil-fuel energy generation with wind or solar technology, native forest protection, Indigenous fire management practices and efficient cookstove programs. If you consider the 1:1 ratio of emission versus credit, it means that a business’ activities can be brought back down to a net zero effect.
Carbon offsets, like the ones we manage at TEM, offer a convenient, cost-effective and powerful method to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Offsets are categorised into three separate project types:
The first is categorised as emission avoidance projects that replace high polluting industries like energy generation with renewable, lower (or even zero) emissions substitutes.
The second, emissions removal projects, actively remove emissions from the atmosphere, as is the case with large scale tree planting projects or the development of carbon-capture technologies that store GHGs in liquid or solid forms.
The third and final category is emissions destruction projects, such as the capture and conversion of methane from landfill before it reaches the atmosphere.
What forms can carbon offsets take?
Accredited offset projects must adhere to rigorous rules and regulations. TEM delivers offsets from a choice range of premium projects that have been assessed as meeting the Australian Government’s Climate Active Standards. These offsets are issued in the following forms:
- Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) issued by the Clean Energy Regulator
- Verified Emissions Reductions (VERs) issued by the Gold Standard
- Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) issued by the Verified Carbon Standard
- Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) issued under the Clean Development Mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Each undertakes an extensive due diligence process ensuring the offsets are authentic, impactful and permanent, so companies can work towards a brighter future having contributed positively towards neutralising their emissions.
The role of an offset in our contemporary world
Across the globe, scientists, activists, informed individuals, and especially our team here at TEM, consider the role of carbon offsetting to be a crucial part of working towards a future global warming target of 1.5 ºC below pre-industrial levels. The climate change problem is so enormous, so perilous that we need all available means, and then some.
If you’re interested in learning more about carbon offsetting, or achieving net zero for your organisation please reach out to us.