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There are thousands of accredited carbon offset projects around the world, from forest conservation in the Amazon rainforest to improving cooking stove efficiency in sub-Saharan Africa to renewable energy projects in India.
Fokus Zukunft preselected a list with broad global spread and a variety of project types. We narrowed the list by omitting those that did not fulfill Sustainable Development Goals that we as an organziation felt were important, including alleviating poverty, sex equality and climate change. We then limited the number of projects per country to one and finally considered other ethical aspects.
What is a verified carbon offset?A verified carbon offset is the reduction, removal or avoidance of 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from the atmosphere. Credits issued under a number of carbon standards (Climate Action Reserve, Verified Carbon Standard, American Carbon Registry, and Gold Standard) will have undergone a robust verification process by an ISO-accredited third-party verifier.
Forestry: The benefit of the reforestation of previously felled areas and conservation of existing forests is that they are carbon sinks, which absorb more carbon than they emit. Trees take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to make energy and are made of carbon. This locks away carbon for centuries.
Reforestation project, Uruguay. VCS certified. Annual emissions reduction of 127,416 tons of CO2e. UN SDGs 1, 4, 5, 8, 10, 13 and 15.
Renewable energy: Generating electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind, wave, geothermal and nuclear reduces the use of coal, gas, oil and biomass.
The Akbuk wind farm, Turkey. Gold Standard certified. Annual emissions reduction of 67,570 tons of CO2e. UN SDGs 6, 7, 8 and 13.
Cooking stoves: In many developing nations, cooking and heating are done with wood-burning stoves. While switching to a more efficient method will do relatively little to global greenhouse gas emissions, the benefits are concentrated on the women who are often responsible for their use and who suffer the health damage caused by smoke. The other benefit is slowing the replenishment rate of nearby forests.
Water: Supplying clean drinking water, safe waste water treatment and sustainable irrigation water is a benefit to communities, especially women and girls who are often responsible for sterilizing the water with wood-burning stoves.
What differentiates one similar project from another? Each project has its own outcomes. A forestry project in Brazil may aim to prevent logging; another attempts to balance farmers’ livelihoods and the environment; while others turn grazing pasture back into forest for sustainable timber and carbon sequestration.
For each ton of carbon emitted, an organization buys a credit. In the case of LNG, we emitted 106 tons of carbon and bought 106 credits. Each project has a maximum number of credits depending on the amount of financing the project needs.
Below are the two projects we selected. Each meets a set of rigorous criteria set by the Kyoto Protocol, the Clean Development Mechanism and the Paris Agreement to be able to qualify. Depending on the type of project and the location, they also fulfill a number of United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Dak Mi 4 hydropower project in Phuoc Son district, VietnamThe dam has capacity to generate 725.5 gigawatt hours of electricity per year and will save 662,566 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year and an estimated 4.64 million tons in its lifetime. The project was validated Applus+ to the U.N. Certified Emission Reductions Standard, a carbon credit standard issued by the Clean Development Mechanism for emission reductions verified by a designated operational entity, in this case Applus+, under the Kyoto Protocol.
Para Nut Concession Management in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. Illegal deforestation threatens the biodiversity of the region and the project helps develop initiatives that increase both the value of the healthy forest and the income from the sustainable harvesting of Brazil nuts. This enables small farmers to protect and maintain their forest. Regional families benefit from a secure source of income. Illegal deforestation becomes unattractive. The project contributes to the sustainable protection of approximately 300,000 hectares of rainforest and saves approximately 2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year and 64.7 million tons in total.
What do we consider when making a choice? You can use any number of criteria to decide. For example, you might be concerned with relieving poverty, so you could select a project that meets SDG No. 1. You may think biomass-generated energy is a more pressing issue in a country than wind energy. You may feel a strong connection with a country or region and choose on that basis.
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