Carbon Offset Credits

People are coming to terms with the concept of carbon offset credits.

     This is due to the effect of reading more and more about Kyoto Protocol and its various flexible mechanisms.

The methodologies are complex and hence it becomes difficult for the interested persons to understand it properly.

Let us look at a simplified approach:

We do our day-to-day work as individuals or as a part of an organization and while doing so add our bit to global warming knowingly and unknowingly.

Since we are aware of the disastrous consequences of global warming due to continuous media exposures…

…we wish to reduce our contributions to such pollution as much as possible.

But since we are flooded with so many suggestions of conflicting nature on how to reduce it, we may be quite puzzled and find it difficult to decide on…

…which actions to take to combat the problem and

…ignore which others.

Question: What to do then?

Answer: We should take the following steps:

1] Make an inventory of all our actions during the course of the year:

  • In course of our normal day-to-day activities

  • Our activities during happy occasions such as marriages, parties, festivals etc

  • We take such inventories in the place we live in as also wherever we happen to be during the course of the year - in our own country as also internationally, if applicable.

    2] Make an inventory of all our traveling by cars, trains or air planes for the year under review.

    3] Calculate the total amount of Carbon Dioxide generated by all such actions by means of a Carbon Calculator.

    This is due to the fact that most of our activities involve the usage of power and in most cases fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas are the sources of power generation.

    [We can get a wide variety of such calculators from the Internet. We can go through the methods given therein and get an idea to approach the problem.]

    4] We should then take a decision on all our activities, which can be avoided without losing effectiveness in our work. This will give us an estimate of the amount of greenhouse gases generated in excess by us.

    In other words, by avoiding all such activities we can reduce global warming.

    But we will soon find that there is a limit to the amount we can reduce.

    After all we have do our work in the normal course of the day and also have our fair share of festivities.

    Question: How do we reconcile between the two opposite ends?

    Answer: We have two options here:

    1] “Carbon Offset Credits” - a limited option


    2] "Carbon Neutral" - the complete option

    This refers to our actions to remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.

    We can do this:

  • By taking part in voluntary work such as tree planting and/or

  • By making investments in different projects to buy carbon offset credits under the Kyoto Protocol for reducing CO2 emissions.
  • The project may be an approved Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project in a developing country...


    For the generation of:

  • Solar Power,

  • Wind Power and

  • Geo Thermal Power etc

  • from renewable energy sources in any country.

    In the limited option we buy credits to the extent we are comfortable, while in the complete option we buy the exact equivalent amount of credit to offset the CO2 emissions we generate.

    In other words, if we generate X lbs of CO2 emissions, we purchase
    X equivalent credits to offset the same so as to become completely carbon neutral.

    The above is a simplified approach to the problem of carbon offset credits.

    In summary one has to understand the intricacies of the terms of Kyoto Protocol so as to get a clear picture about the concept of carbon offset credits.

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    Source: Wikipedia