Offsetting to achieve Zero GHG

Carbon offsetting is a mechanism by which the impact of the emission of a ton of GHGs is neutralised through the implementation of an action elsewhere that will consume or reduce emissions by an equivalent ton of GHGs.

The idea of offsetting emissions by investing in projects elsewhere is a fundamental component of the Kyoto Protocol and programs such as the Clean Development Mechanism have proved the success of carbon offsetting at a national level over the last two years.

Individuals who which to offset their carbon footprint can invest in offset projects through country offset providers such as Zero GHG.

Is offsetting merely a moral license to avoid a lifestyle change?

Offsets should not be made to avoid making efforts to improve energy consumption and reduce GHG emissions at source. However, the processes of offsetting and indeed carbon trading should not be underestimated in their role as efficient mechanisms of capital allocation.

Consider the following example of a hypothetical and admittedly oversimplified situation. House A and B have each identified various means by which to reduce their energy consumption by 1 tCO2e each. The reduction would require an investment in energy efficient lighting and a modification to the heating system costing $100 in each house for a total of $200 in both houses. House C is an older home and has an even larger reduction opportunity of 4 tCO2e but because of the older equipment will require a greater investment of $200. Unfortunately the owner does not have these funds available at the present time. From an overall perspective what is the most efficient way of proceeding?

  1. Do nothing, we should not be spending money on GHG reduction.
  2. Each individual should do what they can. House A and House B should spend $100 each for a total GHG reduction of tCO2e of 2.
  3. House A and House B should contribute $100 each towards funding the modifications in House C to for a total GHG reduction of tCO2e of 4.

If you answered C to this question you have understood the concept of offsetting and carbon trading. Offsetting and carbon trading ensure that investments materialize the largest GHG reductions at the lowest possible cost.

Choosing an offset partner

Of utmost importance in choosing an offset provider is the quality of the projects in which the organization invests in. Zero GHG ensures that all projects we invest in conform to CDM, Gold or the VCS standards (more on project standards). Project quality standards ensure that your contributions result in real and quantifiable reductions (more on our projects).

Our staff are experienced professionals with technical backgrounds in the environmental field. In addition to serving you in the offset field we are committed to the promotion of GHG awareness in the Canadian market and catalysis of the development of a Canadian carbon trading market (see our mission statement).