In 2015 worldwide carbon dioxide emissions will reach 40 gigatons. As some cities, progressive in terms of energy efficiency, like Kopenhagen, declared to become „carbon neutral“ in next 10 years, it would be good to achieve a common understanding what „carbon neutrality“ is. There are many ways the society, company or an individual can start its path to being carbon neutral. Basic ways imply:
Limit energy usage and emissions. In terms of transport, it can be done by decreasing the use of motorized transportation and replace it .by walking, riding a bicycle, driving an electro/hybrid vehicle, use public transportation. In terms of housing, it can be done by choosing house appliances that are energy savers.
Obtain “cleaner” electricity through use of renewable energy sources. It can be implemented through installing solar panels or utilizing biofuels for energy or heat production.
Offset emissions. It can be implemented simply by avoiding emissions. Or through neutralizing the emissions by planting trees or participating in carbon projects. Another option is to purchase carbon credits. Offsetting is a market-based mechanism and is typically transacted in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). 1 offset implies 1 ton of CO2. It is a “credit” from a renewable energy project that replaces traditional polluting sources of electricity with clean, secure and sustainable renewable sources of energy (solar power, wind power, hydroelectricity, forest regeneration). Purchasing one ton of carbon offset means there will be one ton less of carbon dioxide (or an equivalent greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere than there otherwise would have been. The purchasing of carbon offsets is made from either a project developer, certified by an internationally accredited organization or from the open market, where the appropriate carbon offsets are allocated and then sold to buyers who may need them for compliance with set standards and requirements.
Many businesses now realize that reducing carbon emissions is not only good for the environment but also for the brand to be recognized as environmentally conscious, to add values to existing products and services and consequently increase overall stakeholder value.