The idea of tackling climate change through the elimination of carbon emissions is not new. The negative effects of human impact on the environment have been apparent for centuries, but only recently have scientists come to understand the extent of the issue.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is a research body that assesses the climate change impact of human activities and sets future research goals, says that climate change is driven by human activities. Greenhouse gasses are emitted into the atmosphere by humans mostly through the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and gas. The gasses that get stuck in the atmosphere trap heat from the sun, causing the Earth’s average temperature to rise. This global warming (or climate change as it is now often referred as) leads to longer and more intense heat waves, droughts, and storms, as well as an increase in the intensity of natural hazards like wildfires, landslides, and hurricanes.

So what are verified carbon credits and how can they help slow this issue?

A carbon credit or carbon offset exists where a project is undertaken to remove or avoid emissions, such as via installing renewable energy capacity, energy efficiency improvements, reforestation initiatives, or forest preservation.

The project must meet international standards that are independently verified and result in a measured positive social, environmental and economic impact, helping to stimulate sustainable development.

If the project has a net positive carbon footprint the balance/ surplus can be sold to other businesses who have cannot reduce or avoid their own carbon footprint and therefore need to “offset” their balance.

Think of it like water. You have a river on your land, but it doesn’t quite give you enough to meet your requirements, therefore you need to purchase more water from someone else, who has a surplus, but you want to make sure that the person selling it has already sold it, it actually exists, and they have the right to sell it. .

Those carbon credits are sold by different companies, by the tonne, and governed by a not for profit business called The International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance” (ICROA).

ICROA helps by

providing a framework for responsible corporate climate action through the Integrity in the use of carbon credits, the Quality of carbon credit supply, and delivering Impact to raise ambition

It also

“represents the interests of service providers in promoting emissions reductions and offsetting to the highest standards of environmental integrity and in support of the Paris Agreement’

What are the types of Carbon Credits/ Carbon Offsets?  

Often referred to as Verified Carbon Credits (VCC’s) or Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) can come from lots of different projects but ICROA put them into two categories for ease.

1. Removal Credits

Absorb or pull, carbon out of the atmosphere, (eg), reforestation, peatland restoration, mangrove restoration, as well as direct air capture.

2.Avoidance Credits

Reduce emissions by preventing their release into the atmosphere (eg) forestry loss, forest preservation, new renewable energy projects such as solar, or wind.

One is not better than the other, they are different and it comes down to preference, and ensuring that they are certified and certified by a reputable company, and sold by a reputable company such as Gold Standard or Vera.

Picture credit to Thomas O'brien's medium blog

At SKOOT we purchase our carbon credits primarily from Gold Standard, one of the world’s leading platforms, and we mainly purchase solar and wind “avoidance credits” from projects accredited and certified by Gold Standard’s accreditation company, governed by ICROA.

Carbon credits help to reduce greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere and SKOOT offers a solution to help businesses or individuals lower their carbon footprint. To contribute to the transition to a low carbon world and to take ownership of your carbon footprint, visit SKOOT.eco to purchase high quality Gold Standard verified carbon credits for just £12.50.