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CO2 Offsets

What Are Carbon Offsets?

At a high level, 抵消是一种用于补偿其他地区温室气体排放的工具. Carbon offsets come in two fashions; avoided emissions and emission reductions. 避免排放的一个例子是将垃圾填埋气体转化为燃烧用的燃料. 这避免了向大气排放垃圾填埋气体,也减少了采购传统化石燃料的排放.

减排的一个例子是造林项目,从大气中捕获二氧化碳,并将其储存在生物质汇中. 补偿类型和项目类型的多样性可以根据公司的环境和社会治理战略进行调整,并在叙事建筑中加以利用. In the decarbonization context, carbon 抵消是用来减少企业的碳足迹,以达到净零目标. However, companies are finding other innovative ways to utilize carbon offsets such as; offsetting business flights, events, new product lines, and transportation of products sold.

To properly implement carbon offsets into your decarbonization strategy, it is important to understand the benefits and limitations of carbon offsets 因此,您可以确保您选择的是最有效的项目,以确定如何在更大的脱碳策略中利用它们. Check out a portion of our pros and cons from this article published in Energy + Environment leader.

 

Pros of Carbon Offsets Cons of Carbon Offsets

Immediate claim to environmental benefits from offset project

Not a fix-all solution for reducing corporate GHG emissions

Co-benefits of offset project such as: ecosystem management, forest preservation, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy generation in third-world countries, etc.

不接受以科学为基础的目标来抵消可避免的范围1的排放吗

Can count towards internal reduction goals, unavoidable scope 1 emissions, and scope 3 (value-chain emissions)

Are not accepted for offsetting scope 2 emissions for science-based-targets

向一种历史上被低估的商品提供市场需求信号.

抵消是一项成本,与现场太阳能等其他运营效率相比,没有财务投资回报.

Innovative offset opportunities such as: business travel, hotel accommodation, events, product lines, etc.

Can be viewed as “green washing” if used improperly

注册中心认可的项目是经过第三方验证的(碳标准验证, Climate Action Reserve, American Carbon Registry)

 

Great tool for narrative building within ESG strategies.

 

Benefits of Carbon Offsets

碳抵消通过赋予一种历史上从未定价过的商品经济价值,发出了一个直接的市场信号. 碳补偿的目标是对温室气体排放的社会和经济影响进行定价. This is called the social cost of carbon.

项目必须通过附加性,才能继续检查由注册中心列出的方法论特定需求. Additionality tests the project to determine if its “additional”. 该测试确定项目是否对减少和避免温室气体排放做出了额外的贡献. The most important additionality test is an investment analysis. 这意味着,如果没有出售碳抵消的经济激励,这个项目还会发生吗? If so, the project will not be approved. 这保证了最终用户通过碳抵消所购买的环境利益有助于减少温室气体排放,而如果没有这笔资金,温室气体排放就不会减少.

在自愿市场上进行交易的项目必须符合登记处的规则和要求, follow specific third-party approved methodologies, monitor emission reductions and avoidances, and be validated/verified by third parties. 建议寻求抵消的公司购买在顶级注册机构下发行的抵消. The top registries are: The Voluntary Carbon Standard, The Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry, and The Climate Action Reserve.

碳抵消有多种多样的项目类型,不仅可以帮助公司减少排放,还可以建立一个叙事. Certain projects have associated co-benefits such as: ecosystem preservation, gender equality, improving impoverished communities, safe drinking water, etc. An example would be providing solar cook stoves to women in South America. This has a social benefit to the women there, reduces biomass from being burned, and improves air quality in that region of the world. 另一个例子是将曾经用来放牧的土地转变为原始的土地利用类型,例如热带雨林. This project has the added benefit of eco-system and wildlife management.

抵消是一种简单的工具,可以减少企业的排放,并建立企业形象,但必须正确使用. Certainly, only using offsets to meet-zero will create a lot of scrutiny. 建议使用补偿来减少不可避免的范围1的排放和范围3(价值链)的排放. This should occur in tandem with stakeholder engagements and operational changes.

Limitations of Carbon Offsets

The main issue with carbon offsets is that they are not a fix-all solution. They are one tool for decarbonization that must be used responsibly. Secondly, offsets are essentially a cost. Other strategies such as solar installations, energy efficiencies, 随着时间的推移,裁员将为公司带来投资回报,应该首先推荐或与抵消措施一起使用. It is likely that the cost of offsetting will be passed down to the end consumer, however the opposite can be argued. Putting a price on carbon has a direct market effect. If consumers have to pay more for GHG intensive products, 他们可能会转而使用价格更低、温室气体强度更低的替代产品.      

The other limitations of offsets concern target setting. 基于科学的目标计划(SBTi)不允许将补偿计入范围2的目标, 并且只允许在对范围1的排放实施操作更改时使用. 当然,内部策略允许碳补偿,而且可以以碳中性的方式进行营销, but when utilized for SBTi targets, must meet those requirements. 然而,根据SBTi,可再生能源证书可用于抵消范围2的排放.

企业不提高自身的能源使用效率,反而制造不必要的污染,并购买补偿,因此引发了很多争议, 因此,建议企业保护自己的声誉,确保他们的组织将购买碳抵消视为一种工具,在操作变化的同时抵消排放, to reduce unavoidable emissions, for internal target setting strategies, and offsetting historical emissions.

Carbon Offsets as One Tool in Decarbonization Strategies

In summary, carbon offsets are a popular tool for decarbonization given their ease of use, co-benefits, narrative building, and unique use-cases, but they do have some limitations. The offsets provide direct finance to different projects, 重要的是要确保您的组织选择的项目是 registered with the top trusted registries. There is a risk of being viewed as  ‘indulging’ in polluting behavior and using the offsets as a cover, so businesses should consider implementing offsets to build narrative, reduce unavoidable scope 1 emissions, scope 3 (value-chain) emissions, historical emissions, events, and business travel. Finally, 监管环境总是在变化,可能危及以抵消为中心的长期战略. 基于这些原因,Inogen Alliance建议将碳抵消视为一种工具 within the overall decarbonization strategy. Carbon offsets paired with renewable energy certificates, power purchase agreements, and operational changes such as: energy efficiency, on-site renewables, down-sizing, and green product sourcing can be a powerful tool in reaching carbon-neutrality.     

The previous posts in this series discussed energy audits and purchasing renewable energy 在制定合适的脱碳策略时,有两个非常有用和重要的工具. A third tool in the decarbonization toolbox is the purchase of carbon offsets.

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