In a recent post ‘Offsetting Your Wedding Carbon Emissions’ I touched on the subject of ‘Carbon Offsetting Schemes’.
In this post, I mentioned the scheme of offsetting your carbon emissions by planting trees, which many companies offer. Since then, I have come to understand that though these type of carbon offsetting schemes are not bad, the premise is not accurate.
My reasoning is based on knowledge given to me by Sam Lucic at ‘The Carbon Reduction Institute’. This was in an article that Sam emailed to me; “For trees to be used as an offset, they must stay in the ground for 100 years to match the life-cycle of CO2 in our atmosphere.”
Sam spoke with me last week in regards to an alternative that ‘The Carbon Reduction Institute’ offers. Here is my understanding from that chat:
Using the online calculator that ‘The Carbon Reduction Institute’ has, calculate how much carbon emissions you as an individual or company creates each year.
Then instead of paying money to plant trees, choose from a range of Australian projects that is currently taking carbon out of the environment today (not in 50-100 years time when planting trees).
Here is one project mentioned in the article that Sam emailed me:
Project: The SMRC’s waste processing facility diverts from landfill the household rubbish of more than 350,000 residents. When the disposal of organic matter to landfill is avoided by composting, methane emissions are abated, as the waste is broken down in the presence of oxygen. This means that the carbon is released as CO2 (carbon dioxide) rather than CH4 (methane).
Methane is 21 more times potent as a greenhouse gas (that is, its ability to trap heat in the atmosphere) as carbon dioxide. It is the net difference in emissions between dumping in landfill and composting that gives the SMRC its Verified Emission Reductions (VERs).
Accreditation: The process is independently audited under the stringent rules of the Australian Greenhouse Office’s Greenhouse Friendly verification programme.
Personally I still would prefer to lower my own carbon emissions in the first place i.e. turn power off at the wall and not have appliances on stand by etc. However it is unlikely that I can create a lifestyle that emits no carbon emissions in the next twelve months. Therefore this type of scheme can work together with my efforts to personally lower my emissions.
What I like about ‘The Carbon Reduction Institute’ carbon offsetting scheme is:
1) Money spent goes towards Australian projects. Therefore investing in a potential local ‘green’ industry, which will help Australia’s economy and environment.
2) Money spent takes carbon out of the environment today (don’t have to wait 50-100 years for trees to grow).
Take a look at ‘The Carbon Reduction Institute’ website for more information. For companies you can apply for accreditation that allows you to say your business is 100% carbon neutral (or part % carbon neutral).
For individuals and families you can use their calculator to work out your yearly carbon emissions figure, then choose a project you would like to invest in. A project that will offset your carbon emissions now. Then feel really proud that you are actively doing something that will improve our environment today!