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Any action that is taken in order to lessen the impact of the Green House Gas emissions that have already been released is called Carbon Offsets.
Offsetting is the act of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through emissions trading. When we drive our cars or turn on a light or any other appliances at home, often the source for that power generates carbon dioxide emissions results in climate change, so by purchasing carbon offsets it is possible to fund the projects like wind farms which produce clean energy. By funding these reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, we balance out, or offset, our own impact by an equivalent amount. Carbon offsets help us take personal responsibility for the environmental consequences of our activities.
Carbon offsets are measured in tons of CO2-equivalents (or 'CO2e') . These carbon offsets are bought and soldthrough a number of international brokers, onlineretailers, and trading platforms. One carbon offset represents the reduction of one metric ton of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases. These offsets are usually purchased by large companies so that they become carbon neural without actually decreasing the rate of pollution. Reductions in carbon emissions are quantified by measuring the amount of GHG emissions emitted in a registered project and comparing those emissions to those that would have been emitted had the project not been implemented.
Sources of carbon offsets
Renewable energy projects are the most commonly used carbon offsetting methods. These project aim at producing clean energy and help in reducing the use of fossil fuels.
- Wind power,
- Solar power
- Hydro power
- Geothermal power.
We have been using wind as a form of energy for a very long time. Around 4000 years ago Babylonians and Chinese were using wind power to pump water for irrigating crops. Wind energy was used for sailing the boats even before that. Wind power was used in the Middle Ages, in Europe, to grind corn, which is where the term "windmill" comes from.
The best places for wind farms are in coastal areas, at the tops of rounded hills, open plains and gaps in mountains and in the places where the wind is strong and reliable. Some of the wind farms are located offshore. An average wind speed of 25kmph is required for the wind mill to be worthwhile. Wind is a renewable source and produces clean form of energy and produces no waste or greenhouse gases.
Carbon Offset Wind Power Projects In India.
3.7 MW Wind Maharashtra
Devarkulam Windmill Power Plant
GHCL Tirunavalli Wind Power
Nuziveedu Seeds Limited Wind
TASMA Bundled Wind Power
Tata Motors Bundled Wind
World Institute of Sustainable Energy Wind
18.86 MW Bundled Wind Power
8 MW Wind (GIIPL)
Dhalgaon 2.5 MW Wind
Enercon Wind Farms Karnataka
Gujarat Fluorochemicals Limited (GLF) Wind
Tamil Nadu Wind Power
Dhule Wind Power
Electricity is generated by the use of sun light. We have been using the sun for drying clothes and also food for thousands of years. Recently, it is being used to generate electricity. Sun is a very powerful source of energy. If it is harnessed properly the sunshine reaching the Earth would be enough to satisfy all our energy requirements 6,000 times. A solar carbon offset subsidizes the high cost of installing a solar power system.
There are different ways of extracting solar energy which includes the use of photo voltaics , solar water heater, solar furnaces etc. Solar cells provide the energy to run satellites that orbit the Earth.
Carbon Offset Projects In India- Solar
Solar mirrors for rice cookers
Solar Home Lighting
Hydro Electric Power:
Hydro electric power is generated by harnessing the energy from the water flow. Hydroelectric power accounts for 19% of the world's electricity. A dam is built to hold back a river, from which focused jets of water are used to drive turbines and the turbine in turn generates electricity and thus supplied to the grid. By purchasing a hydro carbon offset, you are helping to fund a plant's initial construction.
Carbon Offset Projects In India- Hydro Electric Power:
Aleo Manali Hydroelectric
Bargaran Mini Hydro
Deogad 1.5 MW Hydroelectric
Sandur Small Hydropower
In the early days wood was the main source of fuel. It was burned to heat our homes and cook food. A lot of waste is generated from farming for example the cow manure emits methane which is a very potent Green House Gas. So by buying the carbon offset it is possible to reduce the methane emissions by burning the waste.
Bio-conversion is the process in which plant and animal wastes are used to produce Bio-fuels such as methanol, natural gas and oils.
Electricity can be produced by burning the waste which adds to the benefit. Sugarcane can be fermented to produce alcohol which in turn can be burnt to generate power. Then again, sugarcane can be crushed and the bagasse(pulp) can be burnt to make steam and in turn drive the turbines.
Carbon Offset Projects In India- Bio-Mass:
Malavalli Biomass Power Plant
Shalivahana Non-Conventional Biomass Power
Sri Balaji Non-Conventional Renewable Biomass
Tonk Mustard Crop Residues
Ugar Sugar Works Bagasse Cogeneration
100 Village Biomass Program
Agricultural Waste in Rajasthan
Household Biogas from Dung
Indur Non-Conventional Renewable Biomass
Madwa Village biomass power plant
Ravi Kiran 7.5 MW Biomass
Rice Husk Power in Chhattisgarh
Anaerobic digesters in India
Bio Energy from a Sugar Plant
Biofuel school stoves
Biogas digesters in Tiger Country
Electricity from biomass - Andhra Pradesh
Kotdwara Efficient Stove and Briquetting
Maharashtra Sugar Mill Biomass
The centre of the Earth is around 6000 degrees Celsius which is easily hot enough to melt rock. Even a few kilometres down, the temperature can be over 250 degrees Celsius if the Earth's crust is thin. In general, depending on location. the temperature rises one degree Celsius for every 30 - 50 metres you go down. The geo thermal power is obtained by drilling holes down to the hot region and the water is passed through it, or sometime natural water will be available. Due to the high temperature the water becomes steam. Then the steam is purified and used to drive turbines, which drive electric generators.
Industrial methane is burnt at the industrial waste sites to produce energy. Many sewage plants and landfill sites emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Every ton of methane causes 20 times as much warming as a ton of carbon dioxide. Instead of being released into the atmosphere, this methane can be burned to generate electricity.
These offset projects involve planting trees which absorb carbon dioxide. Trees absorb carbon dioxide via photosynthesis. By purchasing a forests carbon offset, you are funding the planting of new trees to increase the rate of this natural process. Reforestation offsets are controversial, since it is hard to predict how long the trees will remain standing.
Forestation Offset Project In India:
Dehra Dun Monastery Reforestation
Earth Summit- RIO
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), was held in Rio de Janeiro from 3rd-14th June 1992 and it was informally called the “Earth Summit”.The principal themes of this conference was Environment and sustainable development. The UNCED secretraiate had organized this conference and it wa hosted by the Brazillian Government. There were 172 governments participating in the summit which included 108 at level of heads of State or Government. About 2,400 representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also attended the conference.
Twenty years after the first global environment conference, the UN urged the variour Governments to rethink economic development and find ways to stop the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources and pollution of the planet. Millions of people from all places were drawn into the Rio process. They persuaded their national leaders to go to Rio and join other nations in making the important decisions which would ensure a healthy planet for the future generations. Governments recognized the need to reconsider the international and national plans and policies to ensure that all economic decisions taken will fully consider the environmental impact. And this resulted in making eco-efficiency a guiding principle for business and governments.
The conference focused mostly on the following:
- Patterns of production — particularly the production of toxic components, such as lead in gasoline, or poisonous waste — are being scrutinized in a systematic manner by the UN and Governments alike;
- Alternative sources of energy are being sought to replace the use of fossil fuels which are linked to global climate change;
- New reliance on public transportation systems is being emphasized in order to reduce vehicle emissions, congestion in cities and the health problems caused by polluted air and smog;
- There is much greater awareness of and concern over the growing scarcity of water.
Five Years after RioEarth summit, in june 1997, the world's attention was focused on the progress of the summit. A special session was held in New York to review the progress since Rio. The issue raised was : what changes have the Governments, international policy makers, businesses, trade unions, farmers and women's groups have been able to bring about in the five years since Rio? The commission then intended to hold another session of the UN general assembly's proposal for mechanisms and policies which help in achieving the aims of Rio Earth Summit.
On 11th December 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, and entered into force on 16 February 2005. 184 Parties of the Convention have ratified its Protocol to date. The most notable non-member of the Protocol is the United States, which is a signatory of UNFCC.
The Kyoto Mechanisms
Under the Kyoto protocol , countries must meet their targets basically through national measures. Kyoto Protocol offers the nations which have agreed the treaty an additional means of meeting their targets by way of three market-basedmechanisms.
The Kyoto protocol allows flexible mechanisms such as:
- Emission trading or carbon trading- known as “the carbon market"
- Clean development mechanism
- Joint implementation
- Under InternationalEmissions Trading(IET) countries can trade in the international carbon credit market to cover their shortfall in allowances. Countries with surplus credits can sell them to countries with capped emission commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.
- Under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) a developed country can 'sponsor' a greenhouse gas reduction project in a developing country where the cost of greenhouse gas reduction project activities is usually much lower, but the atmospheric effect is globally equivalent. The developed country would be given credits for meeting its emission reduction targets, while the developing country would receive the capital investment and clean technology or beneficial change in land use.
- Under Joint Implementation (JI) a developed country with relatively high costs of domestic greenhouse reduction would set up a project in another developed country.
How To Sell Carbon Credits
The companies in the industrialized nations emit a large volume of GHG's to the atmosphere. So in order to reduce their influence on the environment and abiding by the Kyoto protocol these companies buy carbon credits from developing countries like India and China. Carbon trading is a very profitable way for the companies in the developing nations to earn revenue. The businesses or companies that are involved in lowering the carbon emission or those who produce less carbon emissions can sell on the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX).
In order to sell the carbon credits in the market there are a few important things which must be considered. Firstly it must be seen whether the company is considered a carbon footprint business. If so, it qualifies to sell its carbon credit. If the company is eligible to sell its extra carbon credits, the company must become a member of Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). The CCX works like the stock market, where credits are bought and sold for different rates as the market conditions change.
After being approved as the member of the CCX, the company will receive information about their available credit and also the stock prices in the market. Periodic auditing and monitoring of the companies is done in order to ensure the credits which are being offered for stock purchase matches the actual number (in tons) of carbon being offset. Then the trade is carried out for carbon credits with the large companies looking to offset their own GHG emission. All the trading is handled by The Registry by using Electronic Trading Platform of the CCX.
So in this way a company with excess carbon credits can sell its shares of carbon credits to hundreds of large companies registered with the Chicago Climate Exchange and earn a lot of revenue..
The companies or the individuals who want to reduce their carbon footprint, carbon credits can be purchased with various environmental organizations which are approved by the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). These organizations sell carbon credits and provide services in the reduction of Green House Gases.
The aim and the major benefit of purchasing carbon credits is the reduction of emission of carbon dioxide, by funding the carbon offset projects which produce clean energy. Apart from the reduction of GHG's there are other benefits such as:
The concept of carbon credits helps in putting a cap on the unchecked green house gas emissions across the globe. The companies and industries causing the atmospheric pollution are made to pay for their pollution acts and the once which are taking measures to curb pollution are properly rewarded. Hence the administrations of the companies are persuaded to opt for the methods in which the emissions of green house gases are reduced. This has been a driving for the industries to do more research on green technologies.
As the carbon credits are traded freely just like the stock exchange, it is very easy for the individuals and the companies to stick to the system. As the rules and regulations are not so complex and easy to understand it had become popular.
There has been an increased awareness among the companies about the emission of Green House Gases as the incentives and rewards for the environmental friendly companies makes them more popular in the market. This makes the companies to reduce their emissions even more so that they can get gains in the carbon market. Hence this system is very helpful in de- polluting the environment progressively.
As the carbon credits help in funding the carbon offset projects, it eventually provides employment opportunities especially in the developing countries like India and China. This has also led to an increasing awareness among people regarding global warming.
If the carbon credits related to natural resources are purchased, it helps in conserving natural habitats and resources.