Carbon offsets, carbon credits, and carbon removals—what are they? Just as importantly, what are the differences between them? As we dive into these topics, we will find out not only their differences, but the pros and cons for each one as well.
First, we will take a look at carbon offsets. An example of carbon offsetting is the use of wind turbines. Wind turbines produce large amounts of carbon emission reduction, while avoiding large carbon dioxide use. Carbon offsetting is essentially the use of something that produces energy that is typically produced by emitting greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, without having to emit those gasses at a high rate.
A problem that a lot of people have with carbon offsetting is that they look at it as a way to just buy themselves out of their own problem. They may see it as buying something instead of taking responsibility for themselves. While people should definitely continue to try to lower their carbon footprint, carbon offsetting should not be seen as a negative route just because others do not take the same approach.
The next topic that we will take a deeper look at is carbon credits. A carbon credit is actually much different from carbon offsetting. It is, essentially, a permit that tells a company how much carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses they are allowed to produce into the atmosphere. With that being said, how do carbon credits work? A carbon credit can be traded if the production of greenhouse gasses has not all been used up. In simple terms, carbon offset tries to completely remove carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses, but carbon credits try to limit it to a point where they are not making it worse. An obvious negative to this is that greenhouse gasses will continue to be emitted into the atmosphere, and it is not actually making it much better—it just isn’t making it worse.
Lastly, we will talk about carbon removal. Carbon removal is the process of taking carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere and storing them away. Examples of this would be direct air capture and sinking seaweed. This is something that has been implemented for years now, in response to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
One thing about these methods of carbon removal that is looked at negatively is the amount of time that it takes for these to be put in effect. The past couple of decades of implementing these carbon removal methods have shown us that this is going to be a very long process. While still effective, these methods do work very slowly, and they truly show just how much needs to be done to obtain a better level of carbon in the atmosphere.
Carbon offsets, carbon credits, and carbon removal all play their part in reducing global emissions. With that said, even when something like carbon credits are put in use, greenhouse gasses are still produced and emitted into the atmosphere.
Purchasing Carbon Credits
After reading all this, you may be asking this very common question: who actually purchases carbon credits? The answer to this is actually pretty simple. The biggest buyers for carbon credits are large corporations such as airlines, carmakers, and oil companies. It is obvious that a lot of the large companies that use the most carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses are the ones that have carbon credit. While carbon credit is a valuable asset, these companies and other large corporations must carefully consider how they are going to use it.
This all brings us to the next question, which you may already be asking yourself. It is very important to understand the differences between the three of these. So, what is there to consider when buying carbon offsets, carbon credits, and carbon removal? The number one thing that you need to ask yourself, as a buyer, is what is going to work best with your situation at hand. One thing that needs to be considered is how much carbon you use already. As a company, or even as an individual, it is beneficial to look at your carbon footprint and ask yourself what the best course of action would be—not just for you, but also for the environment.
Sinking Seaweed for Carbon Removal
Pull To Refresh is working towards climate control and carbon removal by sinking sargassum! We send out solar powered, unmanned vessels into the ocean and sink the carbon to the bottom of the sea, where it will no longer be a concerning part of the carbon cycle. Our vessels help both in controlling the carbon growth issue and in removing the invasive sargassum.
With your help, we can reverse emissions and make Earth sustainable for future life.