Carbon offsetting accreditation is a scheme that revolves around calculating the carbon dioxide emissions released by activity and then using these statistics to quantify the investment the actors must make into another emission decreasing project to offset their emissions. Examples of these projects include clean energy technologies or forestry. The positive of this accreditation scheme is that the CO2 emissions originally produced are balanced. This makes the overall action carbon neutral and thus, reducing the organisation/persons carbon footprint.
The scale of this scheme is highly variable and can be taken up by large organizations or even individuals attempting to decrease the effects of their lives, such as the flights they have taken. This can be done by visiting an offset website to pay an offset company to continue a project which decreases emissions somewhere else in the world. Consequently, the overall net carbon emissions to the atmosphere are 0, meaning that if viewed in total, the flight was “carbon neutral”. This is becoming far more common in recent flight bookings, with many flights offering an ‘offset’ button as you go through the payment process.
Options can vary cost-wise, coming in on average at around £8.00/ CO2 tonne being offset. Given these statistics, the average family in the UK would spend approximately £45 per year to neutralise their gas and electricity usage. Additionally, many products are becoming marketed with carbon neutrality already incorporated into the price. An effective example of this in the case of high-emission cars, such as the new Land Rover, in which the production and the first 45,000 miles it covers are already offset!
Far and aside from seeing carbon offsetting accreditation as just a scheme in which to relieve climate guilt, many negatives lie in assessing whether the projects are truly effective. This is where Time4Trees can help. A way to improve the global climate change crisis is by investing in the plantation of trees, displaying consciousness and responsibility for your carbon footprint, that in turn, will result in higher levels of carbon offset globally & right in your back garden! With sites across the south-east of the UK Bio-Diverse forestry is being planted to ensure a sustainable and long-lasting solution to offset your own personal carbon footprint!
Overall, the effectiveness of carbon offsetting accreditation will be derived by the players and projects being utilised. However, in terms of those looking to make long-term investments into removing CO2 from the atmosphere, as a way to minimise their impact, while trying to lead a greener one life, I argue, that this can only be a very good step in the right direction!