One of the terms that are used interchangeably is the terms “carbon offset” and “carbon offset credit,” or in other words, “offset credit.” Though both the terms mean slightly different things, In broad terms, “carbon offset” refers to the lowering of GHG emissions. It can also mean the enhancement of carbon storage through the planting of trees and land restoration, which is mostly used to recompense the emissions that occur in other places. Besides that, a carbon offset credit is an instrument that is transferable and certified by the government. It can also be certified by independent bodies that represent an emission reduction of CO2 of 1 metric tonne or an equal amount of other GHGs. The buyer of an offset credit can also retire it and afterward claim the reduction underlying it towards their own goals of GHG reduction.
One of the basic concepts is that offset credits are used to deliver a net climate advantage from one unit or entity to another unit or entity. Besides that, the GHGs get mixed globally in the atmosphere, so it will not matter in which place they are exactly reduced. You can also use a carbon offset calculator for the same purpose. From the point of view of the climate change outlook, the effects will be the same whether an organization stops an emission-causing activity or allows an equivalent emission-reducing activity in the world somewhere else. Another thing that you ought to know is that carbon offsets are made with the intention of making it easier and more cost-effective for organizations to follow the 2nd option.
Instruments for Emission Reduction
Besides all of that, offset claims are only defensible under a set of stringent conditions. Organizations will occasionally use other types of investments to make GHG reduction claims, such as purchasing renewable energy credits, and these other instruments do not meet the criteria for effective carbon offset claims. The other instruments that are used to claim emissions reductions are EECs, allowances, PPAs, and RECs. These days, carbon offsetting calculators are also available. Another thing is that climate change is a non-localized issue or problem, and carbon offsetting can be done due to this. Greenhouse gases mix in the atmosphere, so reducing them anywhere will contribute to overall climate protection.
Creating a Common Value for Different Greenhouse Gases
One of the greater GHGs produced by the activities of human beings is CO2, which is also the most pivotal pollutant in the discourse on the limitations of dangerous climate change. However, people create and emit a number of other GHGs, and most of them have a great heat-trapping effect, pound for pound, compared to CO2. The most widespread of these gases are sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4). If climate change needs to be addressed fully, then it will need a reduction of emissions of GHGs. Global warming potentials have been addressed and established by scientists and policy makers to show that there are heat-trapping effects of all the GHGs, which are equivalent to CO2. At different time horizons, GWP is defined to account for the differences in the residence times of separate gases or other gases in the atmosphere. By agreement, all the carbon offset credits that are certified under the created standards are given a denomination or value using GWPs of 100 years. So thereby, it becomes easy to compare the effects of separate GHGs to value carbon offset credits in the components of CO2 or equivalent emission reductions.
In the future, the policies that are international could make it a bit difficult for organizations to create a valid unpaid offset claim. You can also check out online Carbon Offsets After 2020: the World Under Paris online. It can change how many purchasers approach the use of offset credits. Rather than offsetting the emissions of GHG, for instance, money can be used to show an organization’s charitable contribution to external climate change vindication efforts or mitigation. One of the signs of this shift or change in thinking is the increasing use of the term “carbon credit” compared to the term “offset credit” to refer to a product being purchased.