CO2 compensation brief overview

Awareness of man-made climate change now permeates all of humanity. The climate facts are on the table and the urgency to act is growing. From large industries to private individuals, thoughts and concrete plans are growing to reduce or even compensate for the climate-damaging emissions they emit. Whether greenhouse gas emissions along the value chain or the very private vacation trip - it's all about the climate balance. 

Emissions trading is emerging.

Since 2005, European emissions trading (EU-ETS) has been the EU's central climate protection instrument for implementing the Kyoto international climate protection agreement. A national emissions trading system has been in place since 2021. The German Federal Environment Agency provides a compact explanation of this: "The EU-ETS operates according to the principle of so-called "cap & trade". A cap determines how many greenhouse gas emissions may be emitted in total by installations subject to emissions trading. The member states issue a corresponding quantity of emission allowances to the plants - partly free of charge, partly via auctions (one allowance permits the emission of one ton of carbon dioxide equivalent - CO2 eq). The emission allowances can be freely traded on the market (trade). This creates a price for the emission of greenhouse gases. This price creates incentives for the companies involved to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions." So a newly created market is supposed to pursue climate protection goals. But what about voluntary offset efforts? 

What exactly does voluntary compensation mean?

A market analysis by the German Eviroment Agency (Bundesumweltamt) clearly shows that more and more people are becoming aware of their climate-influencing actions. The climate-damaging emissions caused want to be offset voluntarily by large parts of the population. A predominant example is compensation efforts for air travel. These have been offered for many years by travel agencies or directly by the airlines for private individuals. Meanwhile, a market developed for the entire private sector with many offset providers and diverse offerings. In general, these are institutions, organizations and private individuals who offer certificates for voluntary offsetting and with which climate protection projects are financed.

Reduce locally and offset globally via climate protection projects

The basic idea of offsetting is based on the assumption that it does not matter for the climate where greenhouse gases are emitted and where they are then at best compensated. In simple terms, this means that private individuals living in Germany can offset their emissions elsewhere in the world. It is important to note that local reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is preferable to offsetting. The Naturefund CO2 calculator helps in the following step with the calculation of one's own emission amount - also called CO2 footprint. The offset can be made in the form of a certificate purchase worldwide through a variety of climate protection projects. Naturefund offers such a voluntary and certified climate protection contribution with its own Intitivate "Blue Planet Certificate". But also a donation to Naturefund helps to offset CO2 emissions. In contrast to a profit-related certificate, a donation acts as a charitable contribution. Investments are always made in Naturefund's own holistic nature conservation projects. But not every kind of climate or nature conservation project is suitable for compensatory purposes. The choice should be made well. You will find more about this on the following pages.

Sources:

Umweltbundesamt Europäischer Emissionshandel; Umweltbundesamt Freiwiliige Kompensation Umweltbundesamt: Freiwillige Co2 Kompensation

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