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Understanding Carbon Offsets. Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions Result from human activity - including fossil fuel burning for power generation.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Carbon Offsets. Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions Result from human activity - including fossil fuel burning for power generation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Carbon Offsets

2 Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions Result from human activity - including fossil fuel burning for power generation

3 Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions Result from human activity - transportation

4 Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions Result from human activity - fossil fuel subsidized agriculture and its byproducts

5 Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (…including this kind…)

6 Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (…and this kind…)

7 Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions Result from human activity, e.g.: Burning of fossil fuels Production of industrial chemicals (e.g., CFCs, certain fuels and solvents, methane) Burning and destruction of forests and other carbon sinks, etc. Result: a net increase of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere

8 Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Main Sector Transport 13% 2010 total: 50.1 GtCO2e (with a 95% uncertainty range of ) (1 Gigatonne = 1 billion tonnes (10 9 or 1,000,000,000)

9 Transport 28.1% (Canada) Transport 27.2% (USA) 1 Megatonne = one million tonnes (10 6 or 1,000,000).

10 Not all GHG emissions are comprised of carbon dioxide Some other substances (e.g., CFCs) are more persistent and more effective at causing global warming than CO 2 however, GHG emissions are typically measured in ton(ne)s of CO 2 -equivalents (or 'CO 2 e') Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

11 Problems and solutions

12 Global warming facts Clean Air - Cool Planet A Consumer's Guide to Retail Carbon Offset Providers. Trexler Climate and Energy Services, Inc., Portland, Oregon, USA. Available online at URL: 1 ton (US) = tonnes

13 Global warming facts Clean Air - Cool Planet A Consumer's Guide to Retail Carbon Offset Providers. Trexler Climate and Energy Services, Inc., Portland, Oregon, USA. Available online at URL: 1 ton (US) = tonnes

14 Global warming facts Clean Air - Cool Planet A Consumer's Guide to Retail Carbon Offset Providers. Trexler Climate and Energy Services, Inc., Portland, Oregon, USA. Available online at URL: 1,000 tons (US) = 907 tonnes

15 How can we reduce GHG emissions? Reduction and conservation Creation of carbon sinks (e.g., persistent forest cover) to reverse trend of GHG buildup Sequestering of carbon by other mechanisms One economic strategy: Carbon Offsets

16 Carbon offsetting the reduction, avoidance, or sequestering of GHG emissions from a specific project by investment in another project which compensates for these emissions Carbon offsets are bought, sold, and traded through a number of international brokers, online retailers, and trading platforms

17 Carbon offsetting

18 Examples of carbon offsetting projects: Renewable energy projects (wind, solar, geothermal, water power) Energy efficiency projects (e.g., replacing old infrastructure with efficient infrastructure) Fuel switching (e.g., converting from fossil fuels to renewables like biodiesel) Methane capture / avoidance (e.g., landfill gas capture and utilization)

19 Carbon offsetting Examples of carbon offsetting projects: Afforestation (planting trees where none existed before) Reforestation (replacing trees removed for economic or other purposes) Sequestering (storage of GHGs in some form of living sink (e.g., trees) or nonliving sink (e.g., deep mine storage, mineral carbonates, etc.)

20 Carbon offsetting counteracts or offsets greenhouse gases that would have been emitted into the atmosphere a compensating equivalent for reductions made at a specific source of emissions can be implemented quickly and at a relatively low cost

21 Offset criteria Offsets must be rigorously quantified and understood Baseline - What emissions would occur in the absence of a proposed offsetting project? Additionality - Would the carbon- offsetting project occur anyway— without the investment raised by selling carbon offset credits?

22 Offset criteria Redundancy - Are the reductions already required by some other law or regulation? Permanence - Are some benefits of the reductions reversible? (e.g., cutting trees to burn the wood) Leakage - Does implementing the project cause higher emissions outside the project boundary?

23 Skepticism about carbon offsets Not all carbon-offsetting schemes are created equal Analysis of the strategies is required in order to purchase offsets wisely Humorous example of activist cynicism about carbon offsets: The Armchair Environmentalist's Guide to Offsets Armchair Environmentalist's Guide to Offsets

24 Evaluating carbon offset programs

25 Available free in PDF format at Compares and ranks carbon offsetters based on the following criteria: Evaluating carbon offset programs

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29 Clean Air - Cool Planet A Consumer's Guide to Retail Carbon Offset Providers. Available online at URL: coolplanet.org/Consu mersGuidetoCarbon Offsets.pdf coolplanet.org/Consu mersGuidetoCarbon Offsets.pdf

30 Sources: The Climate Trust. What is an offset? Clean Air - Cool Planet A Consumer's Guide to Retail Carbon Offset Providers. Trexler Climate and Energy Services, Inc., Portland, Oregon, USA. Available online at URL: coolplanet.org/ConsumersGuidetoCarbonOffsets.pdfhttp://www.cleanair- coolplanet.org/ConsumersGuidetoCarbonOffsets.pdf Plane Stupid. The Armchair Environmentalist's Guide to Offsets. Available online at URL Carbon offset. Wikipedia.

31 Carbon emissions calculator Aircraft emissions: LivClean – CDN $20 / tonne Atmosfair – 15 Euros (CDN $23) / tonne Climate Care – 7.28 GBP (CDN $16.50) / tonne

32 Aviation impacts on global warming and local communities

33 Fuel efficiency of jet aircraft has improved by 70% since the 1950s Megajoules / aircraft seat kilometre

34 Fuel efficiency of jet aircraft has improved by 70% since the 1950s However, we are flying more – Air traffic grew by 14% in 2004 alone US FAA predicts that passenger levels will double by 2018, and may triple by 2027 Aircraft in service 2005: 12,676 Aircraft to be in service 2025: 27,307 Every kg of jet fuel translates into 3 kg of CO 2 e

35 A looming problem in the skies Aviation sector is the fastest growing contributor to global warming Aviation industry accounted for: 3.5% of all GHG in % of UK total contribution to climate change 10% of all transportation related GHG in the USA in 2007 If current trends continue, aviation is expected to account for up to 15% of GGH by 2050 Sources: UK / world data: (25 Mar 2008)http://www.planestupid.com/?q=climate US Data: Popular Science 272(2):40-46 (Mar 2008)

36 A looming problem on the ground Airport traffic and noise have rendered some towns near airports virtually un- liveable Protests have ensued in many UK cities (e.g., London, Edinburgh, Newquay, Luton, Kent, Bristol, Manchester) Time-lapse photograph of apartment in Hounslow showing one hour worth of aircraft traffic from Heathrow Airport

37 Sources: Aviation Campaign: Friends of the Earth Manchester Penner, J. et al Aviation and the Global Atmosphere. Summary available online at URL: +%22Aviation+and+the+Global+Atmosphere:+A+Special+Report+of+...%22+&ots=N8MeEWpgS5&sig =2VJRvNPgUY1fLNENJ1SWkszcmbk#PPP1,M1 +%22Aviation+and+the+Global+Atmosphere:+A+Special+Report+of+...%22+&ots=N8MeEWpgS5&sig =2VJRvNPgUY1fLNENJ1SWkszcmbk#PPP1,M1 Peeters P.M., J. Middel, A. Hoolhorst Fuel efficiency of commercial aircraft: An overview of historical and future trends. Nationaal Lucht Lucht- en Ruimt Ruimtevaartlaboratorium evaartlaboratorium (National Aerospace Laboratory NLR), The Netherlands 5pubs/ _nlr_aviation_fuel_efficiency.pdf 5pubs/ _nlr_aviation_fuel_efficiency.pdf Plane Stupid (UK NGO website):


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