Offsetting is a way for individuals and companies to compensate for their greenhouse gas emissions by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects elsewhere. By offsetting your emissions for an activity (e.g. a flight), the activity becomes “carbon neutral”.
Carbon credits correspond to a determined tradable amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They are generally quoted in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and are used to offset emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels in any process that uses GHG-emitting energy, whether in industry, transportation or the household. Carbon credits are used by the countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol to meet emissions reduction targets.
By purchasing a carbon credit, you gain the right to a specific amount of greenhouse gas emissions reduction. The seller of the carbon credit no longer has the right to emit greenhouse gases in the amount of the credit you purchase. By trading carbon credits, the right to emit greenhouse gases is passed from the seller onto the buyer (i.e. you).
Many think that industry is the biggest polluter and that they should bear the primary responsibility to clean up. In fact, transportation is one of the main sources of GHG emissions in Canada. We believe that we all share this responsibility. The sum of our own impacts—millions of citizens driving cars, heating homes, buying goods etc.—is, in the end, what causes industry to exist and pollute.
It goes without saying that Planetair advocates greenhouse gas emissions reductions above all, and we don’t promote offsetting as an alternative to reduction. But what about the emissions you cannot reduce or have not yet reduced? We will continue to emit a certain amount of greenhouse gases, regardless what we do. There is no other way to remedy your pollution than to pay someone else to reduce it for you. So is it better to offset or not? We believe it’s a question of responsibility
No. Offsets are based on the “polluter pays” principle. By offsetting, you take responsibility for the pollution you cause when you decide to do something about it. It does not mean that your pollution no longer matters and does not make polluting any more “right”. It simply means that you’re cleaning up after yourself.
By buying RECs, you will be supporting renewable energy projects. But REC projects don’t necessarily reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere because they are not required to replace other, polluting energy sources. Offsets, on the other hand, are required to do so.
Businesses can write off offsets as part of their business-related costs. Since Planetair is not a registered charity but a non-profit organization, the Canada Revenue Agency does not currently offer deductions for carbon offsets for individuals.
No. Planetair is a non-profit organization and not a charity.
Planetair continuously reviews its pricing policy in order to ensure that its clients receive the best value for their money. Planetair selects only the highest quality offset projects:
Planetair is part of the UNISFÉRA International Centre, whose mission is the advancement of knowledge on sustainable development. UNISFÉRA International Centre is not for profit organization created pursuant to the laws of Canada.
Yes. Our transaction website is SSL encrypted with 128 bits, and Planetair adheres to Canadian data security laws.
The cost to reduce one tonne of CO2 as part of a wind energy project and the cost to reduce one tonne of CO2 as part of a biogas installation project are not the same. Determining factors include the difference in the cost of the technology (e.g. wind or solar project) and the country in which the project is implemented.
Yes. You will be able to choose to invest in a portfolio of projects or in a specific initiative.
Some projects are arranged and approved by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), an instrumentof the Kyoto Protocol. The certificates generated by these projects are then retired from the carbon market.
Many suppliers on the market offer offset products that do not meet recognized standards. Do not hesitate to ask questions to make sure what you buy is real: verified, real greenhouse gas emissions. Whether you buy from Planetair or another offset retailer, make sure you know what you are investing in. It is part of your responsibility to protect our climate.
The Planetair project portfolio contains carbon offset certificates that carry the Gold Standard. Gold Standard carbon credits are the highest quality carbon credits currently available for voluntary offsets, and the projects they fund are the premium projects on the market. The method requires that renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies also lead to sustainable development for local communities (such as increased standards of living, knowledge transfer, job creation or pollution reduction). All Gold Standard projects are rigorously tested for environmental quality by registered third parties.
The Kyoto Protocol dictates the terms of CDM projects, which take place in developing countries and are registered with the United Nations (UNFCCC). The projects generate certified emissions reductions (CERs), and these certificates may also be used for offsetting on a voluntary and individual basis.
VER projects are smaller projects. While they follow the guidelines of the CDM, they are generally not registered with the United Nations for financial reasons. Projects that reduce fewer than 5 000 tons generally do not justify the high transaction costs associated with UN registration. VER projects receive VER certificates, which can be used exclusively for voluntary greenhouse gas compensations. Just as CDM projects, VER projects are calculated according to CDM regulations and verified through CDM-accredited certification institutions such as SGS, TÜV and DNV.
Our projects are all verified by independent auditors from accredited inspection, verification, testing and certification companies such as SGS, TÜV and DNV.
We use internationally accepted methodologies and emissions factors for all of our GHG emissions calculations. The data sources include the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (the most widely used accounting tool for GHG emissions, developed by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development) and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
We use internationally accepted methodologies and emissions factors for all of our GHG emissions calculations.
We use internationally accepted methodologies and emissions factors for all of our GHG emissions calculations. The emissions data for electricity generation is from Statistics Canada and Natural Resources Canada, the natural gas emissions data is from Environment Canada and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the conversion factors are from the European Energy Agency.
Airplanes release most of their CO2 and other GHGs into the atmosphere at high altitude, where they cause more damage. As a result, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends multiplying the CO2 emissions by a factor of 1.9 to account for their full effect. Planetair uses this factor when calculating the CO2 emissions equivalents for flights. Planetair also multiplies the distance (based on the great circle route) by 9% in order to consider all indirect routes, delays and circling approaches when landing (defined in the literature as the uplift factor).
Short-haul flights use more fuel per distance traveled because of the relatively longer duration of the take-off and landing phases relative to the flight’s cruising time. During take-off and landing, the engines must run at full throttle, therefore consuming more fuel. In addition, once the plane reaches a certain altitude, its drag (the force of resistance that must be overcome to propel the plane forward) is diminished due to the thinner air. The shorter the amount of time a plane travels in thin air relative to the total trip duration, the more fuel it will consumer per kilometre. Planetair takes this into account in its emissions calculations.
Simply put, the more passengers on an airplane, the fewer greenhouse gases it will emit for each individual. Since business and first class seats are larger, they take up more room. Travellers in business or first class are responsible for more emissions because they effectively exclude additional people from traveling on the same flight. Planetair considers whether you are flying in economy, business or first class. Business travelers are charged 1.5 times the emissions of an economy traveller and first class passengers 2.4 times the amount.