How does a carbon offset project with different technologies work?
Every carbon offset project saves CO2, but the individual projects are based on different technologies.
To produce biogas, biomass is stored in sealed digesters where it ferments to form biogas. Biomass may consist of organic waste or manure from cows or other animals. In countries such as India and Vietnam, families use gas generated from small biogas facilities for cooking, thereby avoiding the use of wood or charcoal.
Additional greenhouse gas reduction is achieved given biomass is prevented from rotting in the open air, otherwise releasing methane (CH4).
One such example is our biogas project in Bagepalli, India.
Biomass projects involve energy created from renewable biomass, such as coconut shells, sawdust, wood chips, the residue of sugar cane processing, bamboo or wood from sustainable sources. No trees are cut down and no fossil fuels are burned. Hence, no CO2 is directly emitted. As an additional greenhouse gas reduction measure, such projects mostly involve preventing biomass from rotting in the open air, so that no methane (CH4) is released.
Our biomass project in Colombia shows how this works.
Clean cook stoves
In many of the world's poorer regions, families cook their meals over an open fire, often in enclosed spaces. This method of cooking is highly inefficient as large amounts of heat go to waste. Clean cookstoves are often simple devices made from metal or clay that use energy more efficiently. Families can thus save fuel and cut down on CO2 emissions. Sometimes the stoves are even used by small businesses.
Take a look at our cookstoves project in Rwanda.
Clean drinking water
Two billion people in the world have no access to clean drinking water. Many families have to boil their drinking water over an open fire, resulting in carbon emissions and deforestation. Where water can be cleaned chemically (e.g. with chlorine) or mechanically (with filters), or where groundwater can be provided from wells, these carbon emissions can be avoided. How clean drinking water improves living conditions can be read in our drinking water project in Odisha, India.
Since energy from solar panels is created without burning fossil fuels, it is considered emission-free. The growth of renewable energy production is essential to prevent global warming and secure energy supplies for the future.
The amount of emissions saved by a solar energy project is calculated using the baseline method: how much CO2 would be released by generating the same amount of energy using standard energy production methods for the region? To further understand the impact of such a technology, take a look at our solar energy project in Namibia.
Forests are not only among the planet's most important carbon reservoirs, but they are also home to an enormous amount of species diversity and an important source of people’s livelihood. Global forest areas have declined sharply in recent decades due to increasing settlement, agricultural use, illegal logging and mining.
For projects aimed at combatting climate change, there are three methods for creating and sustaining forestry as a carbon sink:
- Forestation and reforestation
- Sustainable forest management (where the amount of timber harvested does not exceed the amount that can grow back)
- Financial incentives for the protection of forestland as a carbon sink (the UN's REDD+ program), whereby the project owner must ensure that tree cover is maintained
Forest protection projects ensure that forests are preserved in the long term and that the protection of forests is given a higher value than deforestation. Together with the local population, project participants protect the area from negative influences, allowing for alternative sources of income and educational opportunities.
Our forest conservation project in Kenya shows the immense influence such a project can have.
Since hydropower is created without the need to burn fossil fuels, it is considered emission-free. The growth of renewable energy production is essential to limiting global warming and securing energy supplies for the future.
The amount of emissions saved by a hydropower project is calculated using the baseline method: how much CO2 would be released by generating the same amount of energy using standard energy production methods for the region?
Take a look at our exclusive hydropower project in Virunga National Park in DR Congo.
Since wind energy does not require the burning of fossil fuels, it is considered emission-free. The growth of renewable energy production is essential to limiting global warming and securing energy supplies for the future.
The amount of emissions saved by a wind power project is calculated using the baseline method: how much CO2 would be released by generating the same amount of energy using standard energy production methods for the region?
Our wind energy project in Aruba shows how this works.
In energy efficiency projects, the calculation is simple: lower energy consumption means lower carbon emissions. Often, but not always, it boils down to saving fossil energy. Projects can also be set up to make company production processes more energy efficient, for example by using efficient kilns in brickworks or by recovering heat from machines. At the same time, those responsible for energy efficiency projects often switch to renewable energy sources, such as biomass, to further strengthen the protective effect on the environment.
Our cooking stove projects are also energy efficiency projects. These projects are extremely important to us because of the widespread social benefits. This is why they are considered a different category here.
The ocean stores a quarter of the CO2 from the atmosphere and 93.4% of the heat caused by the greenhouse effect - making it a major brake on climate change. Warming, overfishing, pollutants and waste endanger this balancing function. The Plastic Bank prevents plastic waste from entering the sea and therefore indirectly protects the climate. Because there are no certified emission reductions, ClimatePartner supports the Plastic Bank in combination with a Gold Standard climate protection project, a wind farm in the Philippines. With every ton of CO2, ClimatePartner compensates 10 kg of plastic waste.
Social impact projects
Social impact projects include one or more technologies that create direct social added value in addition to climate action. Such projects involve the distribution of efficient cooking stoves, solar lights, or drinking water purification:
Efficient cooking stoves make better use of the energy supplied and reduce the smoke produced when cooking over an open fire. A similar problem exists when households do not have access to clean drinking water, as the water must be boiled over an open fire first before it can be used without hesitation. Remedies include the provision of drinking water treatment aids, such as filters, or access to groundwater from wells. In addition, solar lights help to illuminate the rooms and replace expensive kerosene lamps, which are a frequent cause of fire accidents.
Take a look at our social impact project in India.
In addition to our international climate projects, we also offer projects for regional engagement. This can include activities in peatland conservation, forest conversion, reforestation, biodiversity projects, and much more. In Germany and some other European countries, however, CO2 certificates cannot currently be generated from this kind of projects due to country regulations. Therefore, these projects cannot contribute to the carbon neutrality of organizations and individuals and must be linked to officially certified climate projects.