How Carbon Offset Projects Contribute UN Sustainability Goals?
The UN Sustainability Goals (SDGs) were adopted at the UN’s Sustainable Development Summit in 2015. These goals intend to create a sustainable, ecologically secure future and address most social and economic challenges faced by people all over the world. These challenges span over areas as diverse as education, sanitation, eradication of poverty, etc.
The deadline on these 17 goals has been set - the members states of the UN have about 11 years to make it happen. More to the point, as far as ecological preservation is concerned, the relevant SDGs are:
- Clean Water and Sanitation
- Affordable and Clean Energy
- Climate Action
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Life on Land
- Life below Water
Challenges Towards Sustainable Development
More than a third of the goals are directed towards a call for action towards preserving the natural balances. This includes ensuring all species and their future generations have a chance towards having a safe, clean, comfortable environment to live and thrive in. However, there are a number of hurdles to jump before that vision becomes a reality.
These hurdles include a lack of centralization towards achieving sustainable development, as well as severe lack of incentivization towards efforts in the direction of an ecologically safe future. Here, the concept of carbon offset projects comes into the picture.
Carbon Offset Projects and Their Advantages
Carbon offset projects can be defined as those projects which allow people as well as companies to trade money in exchange for carbon credits. These projects are all involved in schemes which aim at performing tasks in a much more sustainable manner, or reducing the impact our current methods have on the environment (for instance, reforestation).
Carbon offset projects often tend to be located in developing countries such as India and African nations such as Ghana and Nigeria. This is because these projects intend to solve two problems: provide offsets to units which produce emissions, and to stop pollution before it even happens in that particular area.
Countries such as India and Ghana are all suffering from major lapses in cleanliness and lack of useful job prospects. However projects such as reforestation and biogas energy generation plants take away the problem of both job prospects as well as cleanliness issues that these countries face.
Pricing and Trading of Carbon Offsets
The method in which carbon offsets are traded is also something which sets it apart from other investment arenas. Each and every unit which claims to be working towards the UN SDGs or not is subject to first being standardised by an agency, such as Gold Standard or the CDM (set up by the Kyoto Protocol).
The value of each metric ton of CO2 is set on the basis of rigorous evaluation of the ability of a particular unit to add to the carbon economy positively and consistently and in a manner which does not present adverse social inequities. This is why if a carbon offset project is listed, its standards are mentioned along with it.
Types of Carbon Offsets
Carbon offset projects come in a variety of different types. These include renewable energy projects all across the world, energy reduction and recycling in developed and developing countries. Reforestation and land reclamation are another category of carbon offset projects. These projects are often also included as a part of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Bringing It All Together
Carbon offset projects tend to have far-reaching consequences just beyond the initial decrease in carbon emissions. New kinds of jobs, better and more sustainable techniques of dealing with waste, and overall a chain reaction of a new way of thinking which takes care of all living beings and their future comes as a result of carbon offset projects.
This makes carbon offset projects particularly useful towards meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It already has a number of internal checks and balances which ensure that each and every step being taken is guaranteed to make sure that these projects can actually deliver on all the fronts it promises to.