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Author Topic: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?  (Read 1080 times)

nukefix

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In the sense that if I pay for a ton of CO2 it can be demonstrated that either emission are reduced or sinks grow (permanently) by that amount?

I'm asking since I have a favourite hobby that requires air travel and which i'm NOT ready to stop as lon as I can walk. I would like to fully offset the extra emissions caused by my activities - but where & how?
« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 11:01:09 AM by nukefix »

Bruce Steele

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2021, 09:34:32 PM »
Nukefix, Well I don’t believe that polluting now and hoping we can fix it later is ethical but maybe investing in finding a better solution than forest planting gimmicks would be something to consider.
I like the olivine beach sand idea if it doesn’t radically disturb the local fauna.

https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/06/22/1004218/how-green-sand-could-capture-billions-of-tons-of-carbon-dioxide/

GrauerMausling

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2021, 08:37:58 AM »
In the sense that if I pay for a ton of CO2 it can be demonstrated that either emission reduce or sinks grow (permanently) by that amount?

I'm asking since I have a favourite hobby that requires air travel and which i'm NOT ready to stop as lon as I can walk. I would like to fully offset the extra emissions caused by my activities - but where & how?


Wouldn't it be possible to invest directly into renewables, like putting more PV on the roof? This will prevent some C02 directly.

If this is not possible, maybe there are some options for indirect investments. I'm not sure where you live, but in Germany it would be possible to invest into some 'Genossenschaften' for wind energy.

I'm trying to produce as much electricity with PV as I'm using directly (my CO2 footprint for stuff I buy is more tricky....), currently this would be for the house and the BEV. I'm getting a heat pump, so I'm also getting more PV. Of course this is only on the yearly base, in winter I have to buy electricity from the net, while in summer I'm feeding into the grid. But over the year production and consumption fit quite well.

nukefix

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2021, 11:02:39 AM »
I'm looking for carbon offsetting schemes that genuinely work - I would use them to nullify CO2-emissions resulting from travelling by air.

Freegrass

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2021, 03:10:18 PM »
I'm looking for carbon offsetting schemes that genuinely work - I would use them to nullify CO2-emissions resulting from travelling by air.
Maybe someone should start a business offering travelers clean kerosene for their trip, made from clean hydrogen and CO2. Could this be done? And then mix it in with dirty kerosine?
When factual science is in conflict with our beliefs, we cuddle up in our own delusional fantasy where everything starts making sense again...

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2021, 03:29:32 PM »
Hmmm,
Some people carry their own food (or reading material) onto airplanes; why not bring your own share of carbon-neutral airplane fuel?  [Please make arrangements before the day of travel...]

I like the idea expressed of buying (or buying into) a renewable resource (wind, solar, geothermal, etc.)  The challenge is determining equivalents.  $100 (or €100) of solar panels may or may not offset $100 (or €100) of airplane ticket.  CO2 (etc.) emissions for one flight have immediate consequences that linger (diminishing to zero) for 100,000 years.  Buying a solar panel (regardless of who reaps economic benefits from the investment) has environmental benefits that start after installation and last (slowly diminishing) for about 30 years (until it is scrapped or recycled). 

But is that 'solar panel' actually offsetting otherwise produced greenhouse gases or is it merely adding to standard of living?  (Is a solar panel in rural India that charges cellphones in an area previously without a signal displacing any greenhouse gas production?  Does it matter if somebody's planned new coal generation plant is scrapped?) 

Adding CO2 to the atmosphere at different times (geologically speaking) has different consequences.  I believe Milankovitch cycles were causing global cooling from about 10,000 to 15,000 years ago and that human 'interference' with the CO2 contents of the atmosphere serendipitously created the very stable climate we experienced these past 10,000 years.  The problem is that we've been over doing emissions since about 1950.  (Emissions of smog-creating aerosol pollutants, especially between about 1950 and 1980, created short-term global cooling which complicate calculations.)
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kassy

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2021, 05:27:55 PM »
In the sense that if I pay for a ton of CO2 it can be demonstrated that either emission are reduced or sinks grow (permanently) by that amount?

I'm asking since I have a favourite hobby that requires air travel and which i'm NOT ready to stop as lon as I can walk. I would like to fully offset the extra emissions caused by my activities - but where & how?

No not at all. Most emission rights are numbers which were made up to steer policies in certain directions like the EU emissions trading scheme.

Not sure what they do with the consumer versions or what offsets sold vs offsets realized would turn out to be...not that optimistic because there is not really a big source of cheap sinks...and they all should be permanent too to really offset carbon.

Maybe work out the carbon from flights then see if you can compensate in other parts of the budget, improve the house, improve the car?
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Bruce Steele

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2021, 05:40:19 PM »
I have an idea  where a fund tries to buy projects that compound energy .
 Imagine a solar panel that produced in its lifetime two times the energy used to build it.
 Now a solar panel manufacturing plant built from the extra energy from the solar panels that also doubled the energy it used to build the solar panel factory.
 Used to build more solar factories.
 Or used to build other energy projects that can compound energy used in production.
 
Eventually you should be working to produce energy above the doubling goal and be able to sell excess 
but the process to build ever larger production gets first priority to excess energy produced.

I don’t really know if you can compound energy this way .
 

gerontocrat

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2021, 06:57:43 PM »
According to figures from German nonprofit Atmosfair, flying from London to New York and back generates about 986kg of CO2 per passenger. If you travel business or 1st class, it must be higher as you are using a bigger proportion of the plane.

Apparently the average USA per capita per annum emissions is somewhat over 15 tons.
The world average is about 5 tons.

So, you can get some idea of the tons you have to offset by looking at your previous and planned trips by air. An awful lot of these offset schemes seem to be a bit of a scam. But that's your problem, not mine.

I guess this is a classic example of mankind's usual reaction to a problem - more activity.
Perhaps this is why no country has a CO2 emissions strategy that envisages doing less - i.e. de-growthing.



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kassy

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2021, 10:13:13 PM »
Why our brains miss opportunities to improve through subtraction
Researchers explain the human tendency to make change through addition

Summary:
A new study explains why people rarely look at a situation, object or idea that needs improving -- in all kinds of contexts -- and think to remove something as a solution. Instead, we almost always add some element, whether it helps or not.

...

"Additive ideas come to mind quickly and easily, but subtractive ideas require more cognitive effort," Converse said. "Because people are often moving fast and working with the first ideas that come to mind, they end up accepting additive solutions without considering subtraction at all."

The researchers think there may be a self-reinforcing effect.

"The more often people rely on additive strategies, the more cognitively accessible they become," Adams said. "Over time, the habit of looking for additive ideas may get stronger and stronger, and in the long run, we end up missing out on many opportunities to improve the world by subtraction."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210407135801.htm

So even our basic approach is wrong.

In a way it matters which mindset you bring to the problem. If you really want to solve a problem you cannot use solutions that do not exist.

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sidd

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2021, 11:03:32 PM »
USA Midwest: Buy a few acres of farmland and convert to prairie ...

sidd

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2021, 01:36:34 AM »
Wow it is very telling to me that no one has even offered a real suggestion. Do it yourself schemes do not count.

sidd

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2021, 05:37:06 AM »
I think my problem is that i dont trust any of the carbon offset providers. When i was looking at carbon offsets I have dealt with two different outfits that offered to do site and process assessments, charged 5K to 10K, didnt do very much and kinda disappeared when they realized i expected them to spend  a day or two on site and take samples and repeat yearly. I was willing to pay em, they just didnt wanna do the work. And then there are the tree conservation scams and the offers to do carbon sequestration estimate with no sampling, just aerial and sat assessment and ...

So I'd rather do it myself.

sidd

etienne

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2021, 01:44:24 PM »
Well, I would prefer a carbon tax that everybody would have to pay and that would be used to offset carbon. It would be much more efficient because everybody would have to participate.

So it wouldn't be as long as one can walk, but as long as one can pay.

30 years ago, flying was much more expensive, and it wasn't an issue for anybody. I guess a flight from London to New York both ways used to cost like one month median salary, and it wasn't an issue.

I think that is is around 1995 that it became affordable to fly each year to some distant holiday place.

nukefix

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2021, 11:20:30 AM »
Is there really no offsetting scheme that anyone trusts?? I'd need to offset several tons per year, still searching for a viable scheme...

I'm not sure how trustworthy articles like this are:

https://www.treehugger.com/best-carbon-offset-programs-5076458

...via the first mentioned scheme offsetting 10 tons of CO2 emissions currently costs 155$.

oren

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2021, 12:17:15 PM »
The problem is as long as humanity is a huge net carbon emitter, most offsetting schemes are a greenwashing scheme of moving emissions from someone to another. For example you subscribe to green electricity, now you are 100% clean, but the general subscriber is a tiny bit less clean as his average mix now does not include your earmarked renewables. You plant trees, this is at the expense of the general habitat available for trees which anyone could use. And so on.

morganism

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2021, 06:55:35 PM »
If you personally want to offset, seems like planting trees, and dumping iron supplements in the ocean are both the most hands on approaches.

You could also invest in the companies that are farming the seaweed that they will feed to cows to reduce their methane emissions.

If you want to help, figure out which carbonate producing fauna in the ocean you can supplement, and start feeding them. It is discussed on site, but i don't remember which ones they are.

SteveMDFP

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2021, 07:25:34 PM »
Wow it is very telling to me that no one has even offered a real suggestion. Do it yourself schemes do not count.

I don't think sidd's idea was a joke.  Prairie grasses grow incredibly deep roots and do sequester carbon that way.  If there's a conservancy provision put on the title, they'll keep working on the task long after we're all gone.

At least, until the land gets swallowed up in some vast Dust Bowl -- then it all goes back into the atmosphere.

But the general idea is still viable, I think.  The Nature Conservancy sets aside land permanently to stay free from human development:

https://www.nature.org/en-us/

Their focus is a bit more on preserving wild lands than carbon-offsetting, but when they do the first part, the offsetting happens automatically as well.

Maybe a dollar-for dollar arrangement would work.   When you spend $5k  on your guilty pleasure, give the same amount to them.  Were I St. Peter at the pearly gates, I'd let you in.

kassy

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2021, 08:24:23 PM »
If you personally want to offset, seems like planting trees, and dumping iron supplements in the ocean are both the most hands on approaches.

Dumping iron in the ocean does not help. It has been tried in fertilization schemes and while it boosts carbon uptake in one area it gets compensated downstream when the other nutrients run out.

Anyway 155 bucks for 10 tons seems wrong for the demand there should be. If you really want to compensate you have to look inside your own budget
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sidd

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2021, 08:33:08 PM »
I've dealt with the nature conservancy, but i fear that they have problems of late. First was the management scandal/shakeup, now i have been hearing of dubious deals with loggers and gas companies.  For now, i prefer to work directly with USDA and various state conservation bodies.

In other news, sequestration trial begin in the UK

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/24/trials-to-suck-carbon-dioxide-from-the-air-to-start-across-the-uk

sidd

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2021, 11:56:44 PM »
Wow it is very telling to me that no one has even offered a real suggestion. Do it yourself schemes do not count.

I don't think sidd's idea was a joke.  Prairie grasses grow incredibly deep roots and do sequester carbon that way.  If there's a conservancy provision put on the title, they'll keep working on the task long after we're all gone.

At least, until the land gets swallowed up in some vast Dust Bowl -- then it all goes back into the atmosphere.

But the general idea is still viable, I think.  The Nature Conservancy sets aside land permanently to stay free from human development:

https://www.nature.org/en-us/

Their focus is a bit more on preserving wild lands than carbon-offsetting, but when they do the first part, the offsetting happens automatically as well.

Maybe a dollar-for dollar arrangement would work.   When you spend $5k  on your guilty pleasure, give the same amount to them.  Were I St. Peter at the pearly gates, I'd let you in.
I did not think it was a joke either. The original premise seemed to be where to spend the money not what can I do.

etienne

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2021, 06:53:40 AM »
Maybe the best way to compensate would be to reduce the other uses of CO2. Buy less clothes, don't use air conditioning, don't heat as much in the winter, buy only locally grown organic food, reduce meat consumption, reduce health tests...
Paying to compensate seems like when in the 15th century, the Catholic Church used to accept money for the pardon of the sins.

nukefix

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2021, 09:13:19 AM »
Maybe the best way to compensate would be to reduce the other uses of CO2. Buy less clothes, don't use air conditioning, don't heat as much in the winter, buy only locally grown organic food, reduce meat consumption, reduce health tests...
That does not come even close to compensate what long-haul flights and other transport methods cause. Of course I could change the way I calculate my "quota" and factor in that I'm child-free, which has already dramatically lowered my emissions.

Quote
Paying to compensate seems like when in the 15th century, the Catholic Church used to accept money for the pardon of the sins.
The idea is not to pay for peace of mind but to pay for a certain amount of CO2 to not linger in the atmosphere. While I cannot afford to do this dollar-for-dollar as proposed I can easily afford offsetting 1-several times what my activities cause.

sidd

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2021, 09:55:52 AM »
Re: Paying to compensate seems like when in the 15th century, the Catholic Church used to accept money for the pardon of the sins.

"Indulgences" was the term and I am afraid that some of Martin Luther's attacks on them are quite applicable to  carbon offset programs today. (I speak from personal experience. your mileage may vary ...)

sidd

nukefix

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2021, 11:11:26 AM »
So sidd you are basically saying commercially available carbon offsetting currently does not work as advertised? That would be a very sad state of affairs and will making reducing CO2 emissions even more difficult than I thought.

sidd

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2021, 06:48:46 AM »
Re: commercially available carbon offsetting currently does not work as advertised

The ones i have looked at did not satisfy my standards. Those were my experiences, and I do hope others will investigate, and share theirs.

sidd


kassy

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2021, 07:28:02 PM »
We don´t actually have a framework. So lets say you buy a tree or a couple of acres of them and after ten years most perish in a fire, does this reset the counter?

If you invest in some green technology how do accurately count it? Your dollars vs all the other investments over time.

How do we make sure people do not sell the same savings twice? It´s kind of complicated.

Does offsetting help? Not as much as actual reductions. Could you fly every 2 years instead of every year?
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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #28 on: May 29, 2021, 08:18:42 AM »
There are pilot projects that pull CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester it but to my knowledge they are funded mostly by grants. It seems to me that would be what someone would want. Perhaps selling a subscription would be a good way to fund those. Paying a monthly fee to actually remove X amount of carbon from the atmosphere every month would be great.

etienne

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #29 on: May 29, 2021, 09:22:42 AM »
The concept would be good, but pilot projects have the problem that they don't need to be efficient, they don't even have to remove more CO2 than the amount they produce.

My feeling right now is that the first priority is to reduce the emissions, so building renewable infrastructure could be the best way to offset emissions.

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #30 on: May 29, 2021, 09:46:06 AM »
The concept would be good, but pilot projects have the problem that they don't need to be efficient, they don't even have to remove more CO2 than the amount they produce.

My feeling right now is that the first priority is to reduce the emissions, so building renewable infrastructure could be the best way to offset emissions.
If we had to choose one or the other than yes not polluting makes more sense but it makes more sense to do both.

nukefix

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Re: Carbon offsetting services that are guaranteed to work?
« Reply #31 on: May 29, 2021, 02:03:15 PM »
Does offsetting help? Not as much as actual reductions. Could you fly every 2 years instead of every year?
Not really. My hobby is a sport and I'm not getting any younger, so I'd better enjoy the finite number of years I still have left. In addition I'm an expat so getting back home requires a flight, plus I (at least used to) do a fair amount of business travel within Europe.