Do we trade indulgences with CO2 compensation?

The urgency of the global climate crisies can no longer be denied. The scientific facts and the regional and global climate changes that are now evident to all of us speak for themselves. We must take decisive action now in the hope of mitigating the worst effects of global climate change.

That's exactly why we brought goclimateaction to life. It stands for an attitude as to how we want to leave our footprint on this world. This must undoubtedly become smaller and more sustainable.

What is the goal of goclimateaction?

We have set ourselves the goal of raising public awareness of the issue of climate action. Although the consequences of the global climate crisis are already so clearly noticeable today, many of us still have comparatively little knowledge of the causes and consequences of climate change. And when asked what we can personally do to counteract climate change, the response is very often simply “eat less meat!” And “ride more bike and train!”.

But this alone will not be enough. We have to embark on the path to complete climate neutrality in business and society as quickly as possible. In the short and medium term, we can only do this through the interplay of emissions avoidance, emission reduction and finally offsetting the remaining greenhouse gas emissions.

We offer - in addition to many tips for climate action in everyday life - the opportunity to offset your own CO2-footprint with international and audited climate protection projects and thus already today live climate neutral. We want to help you to develop an even greater awareness of climate action in everyday life and to actively implement it.

CO2-compensation means not only looking at ourselves in the so called developed world. As a justification for rejecting climate action measures in Europe, it is often pointed out that i.e. Germany only has a direct share of approx. 2% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions and that all domestic climate protection efforts would accordingly be globally ineffective. However, this is only half the story. Our responsibility for the global climate is much greater than 2%.

  • First of all, a large part of food and consumer goods consumed in Europe are imported and thus produced abroad, which means that we also share responsibility for greenhouse gases that are generated during the production processes in relatively emission-intensive production facilities abroad.
  • Germany has a per capita emissions footprint of more than twice as high than the world average - i.e. we are one of the main causes of the global climate crisis per capita.
  • Europe is one of the wealthiest regions in the world. If even we cannot and do not want to make a contribution to combating global climate change, who should be responsible for the future world of our children?

Information on climate change and climate action tips

The way to a climate neutral lifestyle is a process for all of us. The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 and the European Union climate targets aim for all of us to be climate neutral by 2050. In order to be able to achieve the goal, we have to take many small and concrete steps. This requires information on the causes of climate change and motivation to implement climate protection measures in everyday life. A first small step towards avoiding or reducing emissions for you personally could be to reduce your own meat consumption and to question your mobility behavior. There are countless small and feasible ways to relieve the climate.

Well-founded information on climate change and very specific and well-prepared climate protection tips for everyday life are now available in abundance on the Internet. Therefore we don't want to reinvent the wheel. We are currently offering you a compilation of sound sources of climate change research and an overview of tips for climate action in everyday life. In the next few years, however, we want to build our own library for effective and easily implementable climate action tips in everyday life.

All of us are responsible for an average of 11.6 t of climate-damaging greenhouse gases per person per year. This corresponds to around 1 t of greenhouse gas per month and person. According to the figures from the Federal Environment Agency, our emissions are made up of:

  • private electricity consumption and heating (21%)
  • individual mobility including air travel (19%)
  • nutrition (15%)
  • other consumption (39%)
  • public emissions (6%)

Even if we try very hard to reduce as many emissions as possible in everyday life - we will not be able to live completely climate neutral by avoiding emissions in everyday life due to our lifestyle and the associated emissions.

CO2 compensation - is it indulgence trade?

That is exactly why we offer the opportunity to offset your emissions footprint, after all personal CO2-reduction efforts were made. Your money invested goes directly to international climate action projects. From an economic and social point of view, it often makes more sense to save greenhouse gas emissions in technically and socially less developed countries. There, the positive effect of your money invested is usually much larger than in Europe. Because of this, our CO2-compensation projects are based in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

Many critics of the principle of CO2-compensation claim that compensation payments for CO2-emissions only use to calm your own conscience, but the real challenge - namely reducing your own CO2-footprint - is being neglected. A medieval indulgence trade is often assumed, in which we can buy ourselves free from our sins without having to change our behavior.

We see this differently! This is for two reasons.

  • First, the rapidly advancing climate crisis leaves us no more time - we have to take action now. Of course, we first have to sustainably avoid and reduce our own emissions. But in any case it always makes more sense to offset a ton of CO2 today that we currently cannot reduce and thus avoid it elsewhere rather than to wait until this ton can be avoided at some point in the future. We simply don't have time for this. The CO2-compensation with international climate protection projects already enables a meaningful temporal bridge to the actually CO2-avoidance in the future. As already described above: in today's society it is not (yet) possible for us to reduce our own CO2-footprint to zero. In the end, all that remains is to offset our remaining greenhouse gases.
  • Second, scientific research clearly shows that users of CO2-compensation offerings are characterized by a high level of environmental awareness anyway. The scientists come to the conclusion that the CO2-compensation is not just about “selling indulgences”, but rather the instrument enables the compensation of emissions that are difficult to avoid, which leads to more climate protection overall. More details here

This happens with your money 

One of the first questions that many of you ask us is always a legitimate concern about what exactly is going on with the contribution you have made for the CO2-compensation.

We at goclimateaction are part of the "planetgood GmbH". "planetgood GmbH" is a small organization with low transaction costs and currently three volunteer employees. This enables us to ensure that only a comparatively small part of your money to offset your CO2-emissions, is used for administrative or advertising purposes. Nevertheless, the establishment and professional management of a GmbH requires healthy finances. It is therefore our goal to provide the employees of the GmbH with a salary as soon as possible and to further expand our initiative.

In principle, when using your funds, we refer to the donation seal of the Foundation of the German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI) where the advertising and administrative costs per € spent should not be more than a third of the contribution made. The majority of your contribution will therefore always be used to purchase CO2- reduction credits from certified climate protection projects is used and thus flows to the climate action projects.

Compared to other providers in the field of personal CO2-compensation we are among the "cheapest" providers with an average price of 14 € per ton CO2-reduction. We have this “price leadership” for three reasons.

  • Firstly, this has to do with our already mentioned lean structure and the associated comparatively low organizational costs.
  • Second, we cooperate in the countries in which our CO2-compensation projects are at home with very established project developers, who usually carry the necessary advance financing of the climate protection projects themselves. On the one hand, this saves us the costs of any loans or advances for project development. On the other hand, this also eliminates the risk that the climate protection projects fail and we could lose your money. We will only pass your money on to the projects as soon as the proof for CO2-reduction and the additionality of the projects are certified by independent auditors.
  • Thirdly, our managing director Sascha Lafeld has been working intensively on the topics of climate protection, CO2-compensation and climate neutrality over the last 20 years. He helped developing the international quality standards for transparent CO2-compensation and has built up a large network of climate action project developers in many countries. Sascha now employes this expertise and the network of global climate action projects at goclimateaction.

Why I don't get a donation receipt 

We made a conscious decision at goclimateaction: we are part of a profit-oriented GmbH and we do not issue any donation receipts for your CO2-compensation payments.

We are firmly convinced that as long as climate action activities are only understood as donations, we will not achieve the level of climate action that is necessary to keep this planet worth living in. We have to firmly integrate climate action into our profit-oriented economic system and not see it as a donation issue.

In addition, we would like to convince you not only by issuing a donation receipt to live climate neutrally, but also by providing useful information on climate action and the high quality of our compensation offers. To be able to offer such a high-quality service professionally requires resources and must be economical. With planetgood GmbH we want to show that the market economy can also function sustainably for the good of the planet, and not just - as is currently practiced to a large extent - for its damage. This is the only way we believe that we can turn the corner towards more climate action within our existing economic system.

Pricing of CO2-reduction certificates

For all of you who want to know more, here are some insights on how the pricing of CO2-reduction certificates works. The prices for CO2-reduction certificates usually differ from project to project. The pricing is based on the following criteria:

  • Quality standard: Climate protection projects according to the Gold Standard are usually more costly than projects under the Verified Carbon Standard. This is mainly due to the fact that in addition to the CO2-reduction, social criteria still have to be checked by the external project certifiers under the Gold Standard.
  • Project size: A large wind farm saves significantly more CO2 compared to a project in which family biogas plants are built and maintained at significantly lower monitoring costs per ton. This has a corresponding effect on the price of the reduction credits.
  • Project type and location: With certain project types (i.e. reforestation, efficient cookstoves) there is comparatively more demand and a correspondingly lower available supply of reduction credits. This leads to higher prices. The same applies to project locations – here, too, the market price factors in the geography of a climate protection project (e.B. African projects are higher in price than comparable projects in India).
  • Quantity of emission reduction credits purchased: Volume discounts are also available in the market for emission reduction certificates. These discounts are to be justified economically, since as the purchase volume increases, the transaction costs of the purchase can be transferred to a larger quantity of emission reductions. This reduces transaction costs per tonne of CO2 saved, which reduces the price of credits when the purchase volume is higher.

14€/t per CO2-reduction certificate is our average price, which is based on the prices of CO2-reduction certificates from all 9 climate protection projects we support on average.

If you have any questions about any of the above points, please contact us via email at