There is an urgent need for countries to adopt a universal and global “carbon price” to arrest large scale greenhouse gas emissions. There is also much discussion about the best methods and incentives to control carbon output, that is, should there be a ‘cap and trade’ or tax combined with a voluntary carbon market or an emissions trading scheme to ensure emissions compliance?
As the world’s first cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide emissions, the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) has attracted a lot of attention. Although this scheme has come under criticism from some quarters, the performance of the EU ETS cannot be evaluated without understanding that the first three years from 2005 through 2007 were a “trial"period. The EU ETS is also interesting because it provides some insights into the problems to be faced in constructing a global greenhouse gas emission trading system.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP) in Copenhagen ended without resolution on the two main negotiating texts from the Ad Hoc Working Group on the KyotoProtocol (AWG-KP) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA). While not binding, this is the first time many of these commitments have been made by high-emitting countries, namely China and the US. We must keep working towards a better outcome!
The personal approach discussed below differs from the larger industry scale Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and large scale carbon markets already mentioned. RECs are a tradable form of electronic currency and represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects and are sold separate from commodity electricity. Although they differ between countries,under most programs, one REC would be equivalent to the environmental attributes of one MWh (Mega Watt hour) of electricity from a renewable generation source. More information on RECs is available by following the link above.
By purchasing carbon credits you can help stimulate clean energy uptake and cut emissions contributing to global warming. Anyone can completely compensate their greenhouse gas emissions by going carbon neutral. Carbon neutral means that all your carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are offset by carbon credits. You can purchase these for your home, car or air flights, compensating for all your personal CO2 emissions.
For individuals or households this is how it works: Firstly, a carbon calculator is used to work out your personal or family carbon footprint based on your annual energy activity. This calculation is the total of how much carbon dioxide you are releasing into the atmosphere through your activities. The amount of carbon dioxide you emit is then offset by the purchase of Carbon Credits.
There are quite a few retailers offering non certified carbon offsets. You should avoid carbon offsets that don’t come with a certification as they provide no guarantees that you are getting what you are paying for.
The Carbon Advice Group are fighting global warming and provide a variety of ways for you to offset your greenhouse gas emissions. When you purchase carbon credits, you take responsibility for your contribution to climate change.
The carbon offset projects selected by the Carbon Advice Group strictly adhere to the robust process of design, monitoring and independent verification as set down by the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism. They also meet recognised international standards for emission reductions.
Planting Trees and Land Re-forestation
Another way to slow global warming is to plant more trees. Forests and trees breathe in carbon dioxide and by planting trees we create additional sinks, (C02 is sunk in the trees). Carbon storage in forests is part of a natural cycle, whereby some carbon is removed from the atmosphere and incorporated into the plant, and at the same time some carbon is released back to the atmosphere from the decomposition of litter and soil organic matter. The carbon dioxide absorbed by forests is tied up and kept out of the atmosphere. Deforestation at a global level has removed these precious carbon sinks, stopping the natural uptake of this gas. By planting more trees we can create forests that breathe in the carbon dioxide and breathe out our life giving oxygen.
Volunteer with tree planting groups and get involved for a few hours each year to reinvigorate yourself and our atmosphere. If you are unable to get out and plant, or spare the time, then purchase trees to be planted on your behalf.
By purchasing credits from an accredited company like Carbon Advice Group you are ensuring that the CO2 you produce is removed from the atmosphere and stored within a tree where it can no longer impact on the Greenhouse Effect.
Important Accreditation Organisations
Chicago Climate Exchange http://www.chicagoclimatex.com
Environmental Resources Trust http://www.ert.net
Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS) http://www.climate-standards.org
Center for Resource Solutions http://www.resource-solutions.org
Voluntary Carbon Standard http://www.v-c-s.org
Gold Standard http://www.cdmgoldstandard.org
UNFCCC CDM http://cdm.unfccc.int
UNFCCC JI http://ji.unfccc.int
Plan Vivo http://www.planvivo.org
NGAC – GGAS- NSW Greenhouse Gas Reduction Schemehttp://www.greenhousegas.nsw.gov.au/