A carbon credit is a certificate or trading permit that represents the right to emit 1 tonne of CO2 or CO2-equivalent.
Interesting notes on carbon credits
- Carbon credits are often sold and bought on voluntary markets by companies that want to offset their emissions in order to reach a goal of net zero emissions;
- Carbon credits are now an important component of global efforts to fight the climate crisis and represent an ever evolving innovative field;
- Carbon credits cover emissions of various greenhouse gases. This is why we speak of CO2, but also of CO2-equivalent, a unit of measurement that represents the ability of a gas to warm the atmosphere in terms of the amount of CO2 that produces the same effect in a given time frame.
Carbon credits were first introduced in 1997 with the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to coordinate responses to climate change.
There are several types of carbon credits generated by different projects and activities respectively. Emission reduction credits are generated by projects that reduce or prevent emissions, such as those aimed at producing energy from renewable sources. Removal or sequestration credits, on the other hand, are those related to activities that directly remove carbon from the atmosphere, such as reforestation projects.
Carbon credits must be verified by third-party organisations that ensure that the removal or reduction of emissions actually occurs, is measurable and is additional. Additionality is a very important factor and means that the removal or reduction of emissions generated by a project would not have occurred without the financial incentive provided by the carbon credit.