Why should the level of carbon and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere be reduced?

Scientists at the IPCC have shown that increased levels of GHG in the atmosphere are warming the planet. This creates extreme weather changes around the world. Currently, burning fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – is the main driver of increased GHG levels.

Under the banner of the UN and Paris Agreement, the world’s countries have come together to declare that urgent action must be taken to lower emissions if we are to maintain a habitable planet that can support the world’s population.

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What is the greenhouse effect?

The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon arising from heat-absorbing components, called greenhouse gases (GHGs), in our atmosphere. This natural effect regulates the earth’s surface temperature, allowing life on earth as we know it. Unlike the belief of many people, the greenhouse effect in itself does not threaten our climate. It is only due to our carbon-emitting activities (e.g. traffic, industry, etc.) that GHGs accumulate – as they cannot be completely recycled by our natural ecosystems – which causes temperatures to rise.

What are greenhouse gases (GHG’s)?

The most important GHGs are water vapour (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Other greenhouse gases include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and ozone (O3). While all GHGs are only present in the atmosphere as trace amounts, their effect is enormous: without the natural greenhouse effect, the earth’s average surface temperature would be only -18˚C instead of the current 15˚C.

What is Global warming and what are the consequences?

Global warming refers to the recent (pre-industrial to present) temperature increase of the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere. In order to keep the negative consequences of global warming under control, the average global temperature rise should be limited to less than 2˚C relative to the pre-industrial level – as was agreed at the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Beyond that limit, climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible.

Scientists are more than 90% sure that global warming is primarily caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and CO2 emitted by human activities. The mass burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal, cutting down rainforests (deforestation) and farming livestock adds enormous amounts of GHGs to our atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect and global warming. As a consequence, Global temperatures will rise significantly, as will sea levels. We should expect extreme weather events (think: storms, floods, and heat waves) to increase both in frequency and intensity. In turn, this could lead to other indirect effects such as the spreading of tropical diseases to new regions, and forced mass migrations or climate refugees. The negative impacts will be strongest in low-income countries, as they are unable to take the necessary adaptation measures.

Is Carbon Offsetting considered greenwashing ?

CO2 neutrality is a journey and a path of continuous improvement. Today, for most sectors and industries, it is still a voluntary process on the part of the company that requires commitment at the highest level of management and in many cases internal coordination of all teams, sometimes considerable financial investment to transform processes or finance adaptation. 

It is therefore normal for companies to move forward gradually, usually starting with the offset of emissions in order to minimise their impact while putting in place their reduction plan. The CO2 Neutral label, through its 3 levels, aims to represent this progression as transparently as possible.

The Gold level of the CO2 Neutral label is aligned with climate science, and helps companies progress in their ambition towards a Net Zero journey. And for every level, the QR provides clear information about the company’s climate journey and level of ambition to the general public.

The third party validation by Vinçotte is another way for us to guarantee the robustness of the label, and ensure that the claim associated with it is indeed justified.

Our policy also states that a company, product or activity that is deemed to be counterproductive to sustainable development and transformation to a Net Zero society may be denied or have the CO2 Neutral label withdrawn. 

Furthermore, offsetting can only be done with certified climate projects (Gold Standard, VCS), ensuring maximum impact. Climate projects related to nuclear power, fuel switching, industrial gases, coal mine methane and large hydroelectric power plants are excluded. 

All companies should be encouraged to take action. The label is a way of inspiring them to be more ambitious, and it will continue to evolve in the future to meet the global challenge of climate change

How can carbon credits support a company’s overall climate strategy?

Investing in carbon credits is often a necessary step for achieving goals and commitments.

Carbon credits fund vital planet-saving activities, direct finance to areas that most need it and reduce emissions, right now. However, they are not a quick fix or license to continue practices that damage the environment.

Businesses must take a holistic approach and develop a broad sustainability strategy to guide their climate journey and embed it into all parts of their business.

Learn more about our approach to high-impact climate action.

Why are most climate projects located in developing countries?

Rising CO2 levels is an international problem; there are no borders in the atmosphere. So, it does not matter where the project you are buying carbon credits from is located.

Many of our projects operate in less economically developed countries, as there we are often able to create a bigger impact for the local community thanks to co-benefits and extra activities.

Discover our projects.

What makes a good climate action project?

High-quality carbon credits adhere to a strict set of standards. You can check this by ensuring the projects you invest in are registered with a third-party internationally-recognised verification standard, such as the Gold Standard, Verra’s Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), Social Carbon and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCBS), or standards verified by the UNFCCC.

These standards also highlight additional benefits beyond carbon – all CO2logic and South Pole projects contribute to at least 3 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This could be improving health, creating better education opportunities, improving wildlife conservation or even building sustainable communities.

What are carbon credits and how do they work?

Carbon credits are measurable, verifiable emission reductions from certified climate action projects. These projects reduce, remove or avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But they also bring a whole host of other positive benefits, for example: they empower communities, protect ecosystems, restore forests or reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Projects must adhere to a rigorous set of criteria to pass verification by third-party agencies and a review by a panel of experts at a leading carbon offset standard like Verra or Gold Standard.

After an organisation or an individual buys a carbon credit, the credit is permanently retired so it can’t be reused.

Learn more about carbon credits.

What is Carbon Offsetting?

Reducing emissions and decarbonising economies is urgently required, however time is running out and the technology to do so is not always available. That’s where carbon credits come in.

Companies and individuals can account for their unavoidable emissions by buying carbon credits from certified activities that support community development, protect ecosystems or install efficient technology to reduce or remove emissions from the atmosphere.