CO₂ compensation is an important solution but only a part of the solution

16 December 2021 9:02

Bringing back balance. Some critics argue that carbon offsetting should not be part of companies' climate policies. They say that companies that compensate their emissions are taking the easy way out and this diminishes the sense of urgency surrounding the need to curb emissions now. Next, the critics note that there are not nearly enough offsetting options to actually offset all the emissions that companies hope to compensate. Moreover, they assert, some carbon solutions that claim to balance residual emissions by removing carbon from the atmosphere, are merely greenwashing or entail double counting.

Barbara Baarsma aan het praten

Let me be clear: yes, prevention and reduction would be the preferred strategy for every corporate. Unfortunately, in everyday practice, not all emissions can be reduced to zero. For the emissions that are non-avoidable, offsetting is a good option. If we were to wait until all emissions could be reduced, we would lose valuable time. We cannot afford that when it comes to fighting climate change!

And yes, it is also true that there are offsetting rights - these are called carbon credits - on the market of which it is not sufficiently transparent how they were generated. However, that does not mean that there are no credible carbon credits available.

As long as there are so many greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere, the earth will continue to warm, no matter how much we stop emitting today. So, we need to work both sides of the street. And that is what Rabo Carbon Bank is doing. We offer both offsetting and reduction propositions . Furthermore our carbon credits are about more than removal.

What makes carbon farming so powerful is that it not only removes GHG from the atmosphere, but also reduces emissions into the atmosphere. By using regenerative farming practices soil will be able to absorb more carbon. The influx in the soil can be converted into validated removal units and ultimately into certified soil sequestered carbon credits that a farmer can sell to corporates. At the same time, a farmer who adopts regenerative farming practices emits less. As part of our 'decarbonisation of food supply chains ' proposition, we will make this measurable in reduction units, which can be traded within the chain.

We see credits just a means. The ultimate goal of Rabo Carbon Bank is to have more sustainable agriculture. Carbon credits can help in the transition. We therefore engage with our client to ensure their policies include avoidance strategies and that offsetting is merely additional to that.

Carbon pricing, even if only in the context of offsetting, encourages behavioural changes. After all, offsetting by purchasing credits will make more expensive to emit GHG. Rabo Carbon Bank brings back balance between GHG’s emitted and removed.