This is how CO2-offsetting works
For the global climate, it is irrelevant where greenhouse gases are emitted or reduced. The climate-damaging effect of greenhouse gases has no country limits. Therefore, emissions that are caused by our western lifestyle can be offset by emissions reductions in a completely different place, e.g. in a developing country. This mechanism is widely called CO2-compensation or CO2-offsetting.
The principle of CO2-offsetting is widespread and has been used by thousands of companies and millions of private individuals for many years worldwide.
With every Euro we invest, more greenhouse gas reductions and more social benefits can be achieved in a developing country or a country with an economy in transition than in the western world. The reasons for this are the comparatively advanced level of technical development and the already high average standard of living in the West. From an economic and social point of view, it therefore often makes more sense to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in technically and socially less developed countries. There, the positive effect of your investment is usually much larger. Because of this, our climate protection projects are at home on the other hemisphere.
3 steps against the climate crisis: avoid, reduce and offset
From a climate perspective, it is always better to avoid or reduce emissions before they occur. CO2-offsetting is always the last step towards brining your personal emissions to net-zero. However, CO2-offsettingis not a "free ticket" for your own emissions!
In everyday life, there are many emission avoidance and saving opportunities for each of us. You can find more about this in our CO2-reduction tips. But unfortunately, even if we all make strong personal avoidance and reduction efforts, a completely carbon free life is currently not possible due to our westernb lifestyle. Therefore, the final step to a climate neutral life is the mechanism of CO2-compensation.
It must be emphasized: the mechanism of CO2-offsetting alone is not enough to solve the problem of the global climate crisis! But this mechanism is a very useful and easy to implement possibility for each of us to do something concrete for global climate action.
CO2-compensation through additional climate action projects
When getting engaged in carbon offsetting, the amount of your remainig greenhouse gas emissions footprint must be calculated or estimated based on existing empirical values. These emissions come e.g. from business trips or from your energy consumption at home. These emissions are then offset through your investment in certified carbon reduction projects, e.g. a wind farm in Indonesia or a forest protection project in Kenya. More details on our projects here.
It is important that every carbon reduction project can demonstrate that it cannot be carried out without the mechanism of CO2-offsetting and the related additional financial income from the sale of the emission reduction certificates. This is called "additionality". Each certified carbon reduction project must therefore provide an additionality prove. Your investment is always about climate action that would normally not have happened, but demonstrably relies on your investment in your climate neutral life. In addition, the reduced CO2-reduction certificates used to offset your emissions must of course be permanent and must provide evidence also for this.
Certified reduction credits
All recognized climate protection projects are verified once a year by independent certifiers. This ensures that the expected additional emissions savings are actually achieved by the project.
Following the successful check (the so-called verification), the initiators of the compensation projects receive certified emission reduction credits. These credits or reduction certificates document the emission savings of the respective climate protection project. The reduction credits are receipts that a climate protection project has reduced a certain amount of CO2. Each receipt stands for one ton of greenhouse gas saved. The reduction credits can then be sold by the project developer in order to secure the financing necessary for the further implementation of the project.
The verification cycle for CO2-compensation projects
Each CO2-reduction project must go through a strict and standardized verification cycle including annual verification by independent auditors. This cycle varies slightly depending on the selected project standard, but always follows the same strict monitoring principles. This ensures that the CO2-reductions are factual and sustainably achieved.
Our carbon reduction projects at goclimateneutral are either certified according to Gold Standard (GS), the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) or the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). You can learn more about these standards here.
Retirment of reduction certificates in electronic databases
To ensure that each emission reduction credit only exists and is counted once, all these credits are stored in electronic format in publicly accessible project databases - the so-called "registries".
Each climate project quality standard has its own database. On our project pages, you will find a link for every project to the respective registry website where you can find all externally checked details about each project.
goclimateaction has a user account in these registries, in which the emission reduction credits required for your climate neutralization are retired. We will confirm this to you with the certificate in pdf-format, which we provide by email. This proves that your CO2-compensation has been implemented.