Why we have to capture, not offset emissions

Published 13th November, 2020
by Marcus Lima

 

What is carbon capture?

Right now, the world is emitting more than 40 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. That’s 40 billion tonnes contributing to a warming climate.

We founded Reduce My Footprint for two reasons. The first reason was to make climate impact quick, easy, and accessible to everyone. The second reason was because there is a need to capture carbon, not offset. Of the climate impact schemes that are out there, the vast majority of them are not solving the real problem. Carbon dioxide is being emitted into the atmosphere. The only way to reverse that problem is to take the emissions back out. Instead, carbon offsets are marketed as ‘avoiding future emissions’ most commonly by supporting renewable energy projects such as solar and wind. The theory is that by supporting unprofitable clean energy projects you would be avoiding energy being generated with emissions intensive coal or gas power stations. For a long time, there was some truth to projects such as these leading to avoided emissions, even if it is challenging at best to demonstrate the exact carbon reducing impact supporting an offsetting project has. However, there is no longer any ‘carbon avoiding’ effect from funnelling carbon offset money into renewable energy projects. These projects now would and do happen despite money from carbon offsets. Financing renewables projects with money intended for reducing carbon emissions has become dishonest and misleading.

 

Is solar power the next Big Energy?

In the last decade the world has undergone a paradigm shift with dramatic implications. And it’s good news. Renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil electricity. By a lot. Solar power is now estimated to be the cheapest source of energy humanity has had. Ever. That’s a big deal and fantastic news for the transition to a fossil free energy future. But it does mean that offsetting carbon emissions by giving money to renewable energy developers is now no longer supporting otherwise unprofitable projects, it is increasing the profit margins of renewable energy developers. Did you know the most valuable energy company in the world is no longer a Big Oil company? Exxon Mobil, once the most valuable company in the world, has been surpassed in value by NextEra Energy, a renewables developer based in Florida that is now worth an astronomical $138.6 billion. Renewable energy is no longer the new kid on the block, and it certainly doesn’t need financial support from well meaning individuals and companies who want to make an impact.

 

What we’re doing about it

We have to shift the conversation about carbon emissions away from renewable energy and towards actually removing carbon from the atmosphere. The fight against climate change has entered a new phase. Our carbon budget is growing ever smaller, the IPCC estimates we only 570 billion tonnes of emissions left in our ‘budget’ before the effects of climate change becomes severe. That means we have 12 years to change the world. We need to be investing in the right things, right now. That’s why all projects Reduce My Footprint supports directly remove carbon from the atmosphere to make sure we are truly having an impact. A subscription to Reduce My Footprint means you have a real measurable impact on your carbon footprint.

Thanks for changing the world,
Marcus