March 16, 2022

Carbon Reduction

Carbon Emissions and Mitigation Strategies

Carbon Emissions and Mitigation Strategies

What is carbon mitigation? Carbon mitigation is defined by NASA as, "reducing and stabilizing the levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere".

What is adaptation? Adaptation means adapting life to climate change now and to what it will be like in the future. 

The Paris Agreement and the GHG Protocol both agree that carbon reductions and carbon offsetting projects are part of a tactful and successful mitigation strategy. While reductions and switching to alternatives is the most important step, businesses need to offset their unavoidables today. The Paris Agreement and the GHGP encourage purchasing more offsets to get to climate negative and offsetting old emissions.

We must cut our carbon emissions in half by 2030 if we want to limit global warming to 1.5C compared to pre-industrial levels as The Paris Agreement encourages. To be able to do this we have to reduce emissions and offset what is already in the atmosphere until we transition completely to zero carbon. Offsets aren't meant to be an excuse to emit, they are meant to remove the residuals as we reduce. Since they have been reported misused in the past, people are skeptical. 

If you are seeking to mitigate carbon emissions in your organization and want to learn how, then this is for you. We will go over the reasons why reductions and offsets are a winning combination in your carbon neutral strategy, how they will keep you on track to proper emission decreases, and how Net0 is here to help.

Carbon mitigation strategies

For a thorough CO2 mitigation strategy, businesses and organizations must take into account the following factors. Of course it will be different for every industry, location, and resources available.

  • Project greenhouse gas mitigation tactics for the future
  • Assess life cycles of products
  • Prevent further GHG mitigation with alternatives
  • Operate air conditioning on a schedule
  • Use green computing services
  • Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs
  • Transition to net zero buildings
  • Use energy-efficient machinery and appliances
  • Avoid equipment that burns fossil fuels if possible
  • Be mindful of greener transport options whether it be for commuting, traveling, or logistics cargo
  • Minimize the amount of waste and toxic waste that cause emissions
  • Remove carbon that is already in the atmosphere 
  • Purchase carbon credits to carbon capture and remove the GHG emissions already in the atmosphere with offsetting projects in addition to the residuals now
  • If possible, incorporate land use strategies for CO2 mitigation 

Carbon credits are not excuses to permit more emissions

A carbon credit represents a certificate to permit emitting one ton of CO2e emissions (or carbon dioxide equivalent, which includes other greenhouse gases or GHGs). The point is to limit the emissions so companies aren't emitting an infinite amount of GHGs. With this credit, offsets can be bought and go towards projects that protect the environment through counteracting or controlling emissions. Carbon offsets compensate for GHGs that have been emitted elsewhere, intending to capture and remove them from the atmosphere, not an excuse to pollute with increasing emissions. These projects can include a wide variety of global subjects to ensure diversity through natural projects, environmental protection, and public welfare, internationally. What offsets are supposed to achieve is the compensation of residual CO2e emissions until long-term investments can be made to switch to renewable energy, clean logistics, in-house equipment, and anything that causes emissions in the reporting industry. Residual CO2e emissions are the emissions that can't be eradicated right at the moment; left behind emissions after reduction strategies have been implemented. Every year, the percentage of emissions should be going down so the credits allotted to each business should decrease yearly.

The idea of a ton being permitted is not supposed to cancel out the environmental damage done or give permission to pollute as some people claim. Although greenwashing and double counting have been known to happen, modern carbon accounting software systems have been developed to promote and ensure use honesty. It's easier to prove through accurate reporting systems with data provided, exactly what has been counted for and what has been offset. Net0 only partners with verified offsetting projects so we know and companies know that the emissions are truly being offset with quality projects that do well for the earth and the atmosphere.

Undoing the damage

Since there is so much CO2 in the atmosphere already, we have to do what we can to capture and get rid of those emissions. It would take years and possibly it will never be done, but climate change, global warming, and natural disasters have only increased with severity and are killing people, animals, ecosystems, and destroying entire landforms across the earth. At the rate we are going, we will never stay under rising above 1.5C degrees compared to pre-industrial levels, as strongly encouraged by The Paris Agreement, the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), and many other organizations that stress this issue and agree. Some studies and organizations say we are at risk of increasing even 2C which will catapult us further into even worse climate emergencies and endangered species who cannot find food to survive and cannot suffer the polarized climate changes. 

Incontestably, reducing emissions to the amount of non-existence is the objective. Offsetting for the sake of polluting is not the goal. However, the successful way to get to net zero is a well-thought-out plan that is realistic and agile, and to do both until emissions are eradicated. Since companies cannot install solar panels overnight, wind farms are not being finished tomorrow, and logistics trucks aren't giving up diesel today, we must offset those emissions in the short term until our long-term strategies are carried out. Moreover, the offsets are funding those missions. It's a win-win. Carbon offsets and reducing emissions must go hand-in-hand in this moment until we are completely out of fossil fuels. The two must coexist peacefully if we are to undo the environmental damage that has already gone too far.

Even the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) encourages companies to go beyond their value chain targets of eliminating future emissions and purchasing offsets to stay below the rise of 1.5C in order to increase decarbonization even further by removing the emissions already in the atmosphere. 

Related content

If you want to know more about carbon reduction strategies and how Net0 can help, please see our following resources:

• Article: How to Reduce Upstream Emissions With the Gold Standard Framework for Supplier Engagement
• Article: Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Decreasing emissions calls for multiple actions

The issue is not whether we emit and offset or reduce. A complete net zero strategy includes reducing emissions where possible today, offsetting the residual emissions we cannot avoid at the moment, and forming a long-term reduction strategy as we decrease over time in a way that is ambitious, realistic, and can still be profitable without businesses thinking it will create outrageous expenses or job losses. In fact, plenty of green jobs are forming as any industry will have room for new employees as the world changes and grows. 

What is more, Net0 is an affordable solution for businesses because it is an all-in-one emissions management platform that uses the data that companies provide to calculate and measure emissions, give insights for reductions with proper analytics in real-time, enables carbon offsets through trusted, verified partners around the world, certifies for communicating your efforts to stakeholders, and generates investor-grade reporting for immediate disclosure of where companies are in their net zero journeys. Since Net0's emissions management software is so complete, businesses don't need to seek outside organizations, consultants, or additional tools to measure, reduce, offset, certify, or report. It's all done for you once you upload your data and you'll have peace of mind knowing that the verified offsets are actually doing the job they say they will do, and you will have helped the planet and gained rapport as a carbon neutral company in your market.

While offsetting carbon emissions is not the only answer to mitigation, it is a necessary part of a robust strategy. Once a business analyzes and understands their carbon footprint, they have taken steps to remove the damage and they are going in the right direction. Like anything, offsetting can be misused but now that systems of record in reliable carbon accounting software exist, it is easier to get a transparent view of what the company stands for and what actions they are taking to mitigate climate change. 

Facing the cost 

There is going to be a cost in any transition you make. New software, new employees, new machines. Upgrades are meant to work better, cut time and cost in the long run, and improve the way industries do what they do. Switching to renewables, for example, will disrupt industries. There will be a cost upfront but in the long term, it will be worth it like with most investments.

It's not going to take anything away from people to stop polluting and make reductions. Greener jobs are appearing every day that weren't available even a few years ago. Everyone can make a steady transition together where the pros outweigh the cons. 

The ultimate cost is climate change. People, animals, and entire ecosystems are dying off as a result. There could be a fine or a tax to pollute but instead, we have life-changing projects we can contribute to so we can undo some of the present devastation and keep moving forward. If there were simply a fine or tax, we would just be throwing money at the government to be able to pollute. Two wrongs. 

Some people think that carbon credits are priced too cheap and on the other hand they argue that if you paid more, or a tax, then the government would just be capitalizing off pollution. Whether opinions have weight based on data and situations that occur, the answer to combating climate change lies in how companies set up their strategies. 

The reason Net0 offers more than just a few types of projects is because all of the projects are necessary. While tree planting is great and some companies choose to only offset with those partners and actions, we realistically have to be building greener infrastructures, improving quality of lives in developing communities, counting for proper waste removal, and cleaner energy sources than conventional electric and fossil fuels. In order to fund this way of life and fully make that transition, we have to purchase carbon credits and fund these projects. It is better than having a government fine or tax that contributes to unknown places and do not guarantee new projects.

The financial cost depends on the project. It can vary from $7 to hundreds. It could be something simple like forest protection to a more complicated project like transforming waste to biochar that can be applied to soil to sequester carbon.

Final takeaways

It's no question amongst experts and organizations tackling climate change that both reductions and offsets are necessary. We must remember that the unavoidable emissions should be temporary. Offsets are not supposed to be utilized to mask a permanent problem. They are the solution to improving the environment with world-changing projects in order to get rid of the sources of the emissions. 

Book a call with Net0 to start measuring your emissions and create a reduction plan to become carbon neutral in no time. 

Request a demo of Net0 platform

Talk to us to learn more about making your business carbon neutral.
Request a demo

Reimagine Sustainability
with AI

Capitalize on the economic opportunities of sustainability with Net0's emissions management software.

Schedule a demo
Net0 Interface