Three things you need to know to get offsetting right

Carbon offsetting is the only immediate solution to unavoidable emissions today. But it’s crucial to do it the right way. Here’s how. 

The consequences of climate change are becoming more and more evident around the world and in our own backyards. Now more than ever, we need to fund and support effective climate solutions that create measurable impact right now, while fostering long-term transformation. 

Like every other climate solution out there, carbon offsetting isn’t perfect — but it’s an incredibly mighty tool if done right. And it’s often the only solution available in the short term.

Here are the three things you need to know to get offsetting right:

1) Quality matters. A lot.

The history of carbon offsets is riddled with projects that have fallen short of their promises. Identifying robust offsets requires deep industry knowledge, making it hard for individuals to separate the wheat from the chaff. That’s exactly why we built Klima: to provide a trusted source for high-quality carbon projects.

At the core of Klima’s project portfolio is a comprehensive set of quality criteria that a project needs to meet in order to even be considered. Together with our team of long-time carbon market experts, we rigorously screen all our projects to make sure they are:

  • Additional in their CO2e reduction, assuring your money has real impact that wouldn't have happened otherwise.

  • Lasting in their climate effects, as projects are selected for high levels of “permanence” beyond project lifetime.

  • Certified by the highest international standards, namely the Gold Standard and the Verified Carbon Standard. 

  • Unclaimed units of CO2e that are not claimed otherwise, e.g. for national or other CO2e reduction targets.

  • Conflict free in their implementation on the ground, by working in consultation and cooperation with local communities.

  • Transparent and documented on a public ledger where every carbon credit is accounted for with a unique, immutable ID.

  • Beneficial to local communities and contributing directly to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, e.g. by supporting poverty alleviation, biodiversity, education, and gender equality.

Only projects that meet all these quality criteria are selected for Klima’s climate portfolio.

2) Reduction is imperative.

The only lasting solution to stop global warming is to transition away from fossil fuels and other man-made greenhouse gasses. There simply is no other way. Emissions reduction is therefore the most important goal we need to focus on as individuals, businesses, and societies. That’s why Klima includes a powerful emissions reduction guide, to help individuals cut emissions in their personal lives.

But none of us can get to zero emissions right away. Offsets are the only available short-term solution to clean up those emissions you currently can’t avoid, allowing us to get to net zero while we work on transitioning to real zero. The simple principle to follow can be summed up in one sentence: Reduce what you can and offset what you can’t avoid.

3) Offsets allow us to act fast, as time is running out. 

Without effective carbon offsetting we won’t be able to reach our climate goals. We have eight years left to cut global emissions in half. The current commitments made by governments around the world are still putting us on a pathway towards double the 1.5°C target set by the Paris agreement in 2015, leaving a huge “emissions gap”.

By funding the right projects that effectively and reliably capture or avoid emissions, we can promote an effective system that channels billions of dollars every year into CO2e reduction that wouldn’t exist otherwise, thereby actively contributing to closing the emissions gap.

What’s more, every voluntary carbon offset creates demand for innovation in ways to capture carbon even more effectively. This is crucial to achieving our climate targets, as there is no IPCC scenario in which we keep global warming below 1.5°C without massive innovation in negative emissions technology.

Solving climate change is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced. Each of us holds a piece to the climate puzzle. By making climate-smart choices and neutralizing our emissions, we can now put the pieces in place to create a liveable planet for the future.

Take climate action with Klima

Markus Gilles
by Markus Gilles
CEO & Co-Founder
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