The Carbon Offsets Requisite

The Carbon Offsets Requisite

To meet our climate goals, we’ll need to invest in high quality carbon offsets. Are you purchasing them to mitigate emissions from your homes, products, transportation, and lifestyle?

Earlier this year, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service reported that, for the first time ever, global warming exceeded 1.5 degree Celsius across an entire year. Scientists claim that urgent action to cut carbon emissions can still slow warming, but they also assert that we’re quickly reaching a critical tipping point wherein the threat multiplier of climate change will lead us into uncharted territory.

We can—and must—decarbonize our economy through the electrification of buildings and transportation, adoption of renewable energy, modification of manufacturing, and deployment of regenerative agricultural practices, but these things take time.

While emissions reduction strategies, carbon sequestration technologies, and other climate solutions are evolving at astonishing rates, they alone won’t be enough to keep us under the crucial 2 degree Celsius warming threshold.

Which leads us to an inevitable conclusion: carbon offsets will play a vital role in helping us reach our climate goals.

Carbon Offsets-1

What Are Carbon Offsets?

A carbon offset is a transaction that removes CO2 or other greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. One carbon credit is issued for each ton of emissions avoided, removed or captured from the atmosphere.

The most common carbon offset projects today focus on emissions reductions (like landfill gas capture), forest management and conservation, biodiversity protection, renewable energy, biochar, and direct air capture.

Large corporations with high carbon emissions are required to purchase carbon offsets. Smaller, less polluting companies—as well as individuals—can purchase voluntary carbon offsets to counterbalance emissions from buildings, manufacturing, travel, energy use, and other polluting activities.

Carbon offsets are particularly important in the building industry, because the built environment is one of the most conspicuously consumptive sectors of our economy. The sourcing and manufacturing of materials, construction process, and ongoing operations of homes and buildings require an immense amount of energy and emit a substantial amount of pollution.

While a sustainable built environment begins with climate responsive design, energy efficiency, electrification, renewable energy, water conservation, and ecosystem protection, the purchase of carbon offsets allows builders, developers, manufacturers, energy companies, and other stakeholders to mitigate the emissions from and environmental impact of projects.

Greenwashing Concerns

Some critics argue that carbon offsets enable companies to greenwash. That’s certainly true in some cases. For example, if a highly polluting company purchases carbon offsets and claims that it is carbon neutral, that’s greenwashing.

However, the responsible use of carbon offsets to help manufactures, builders, and homeowners reach the ‘last mile’ of their targets—after they have deployed other strategies to enhance the sustainability of their products, projects, and homes—is both prudent and essential, particularly in light of the fact that there simply aren’t enough carbon neutral products, transportation options, manufacturing innovations, or installation practices available to create structures that are net zero embodied carbon at this time.

Carbon Offsets Quality Control

Unfortunately, the voluntary carbon offsets market is currently fractured and confusing, and not all carbon offsets are created equal. 

Carbon offset projects vary in terms of efficacy. For example, some projects like planting trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through sequestration. However, once those trees die, the sequestered carbon is released back into the atmosphere, making these projects impermanent, and therefore not optimally effective. On the flip side, gas capture projects are typically regarded as high quality, as they permanently dispose of emissions.

High quality carbon offsets address additionality, provide robust and timely data, eliminate double accounting, ensure permanent carbon removal, provide accurate reporting, and offer well-defined pricing, benefits, and results.

Carbon Offsets for the Building Industry

In response to growing demand from stakeholders throughout the building industry, Green Builder Media has launched the COGNITION Carbon Offsets Marketplace to streamline access to carbon offsets and mitigate the impact of the built environment. 

To ensure that all carbon offsets offered through this marketplace are high quality and properly vetted, Green Builder Media has partnered with CNaught, the leading provider of science-backed portfolios of high-integrity carbon credits.

The partnership blends CNaught’s exensive expertise in designing reliable carbon credit portfolios with Green Builder Media’s unparalleled leadership in sustainability and messaging prowess to convey information about the importance of carbon offsets to a broad spectrum of stakeholders.

With carbon credits purchased through the COGNITION Carbon Credit Marketplace, buyers can trust that their purchases have real impact. Diversified portfolio options built with multiple carbon projects across each of four Oxford categories of carbon removal and reduction ensure that purchasers are mitigating risk and maximizing their climate impact.

We’re excited to partner with CNaught to offer a carbon credit strategy previously accessible to only the most sophisticated buyers that addressed embodied and operational emissions.

Buy your offsets today on the COGNITION Carbon Offsets Marketplace!

Got questions about carbon credits or want to learn how many credits you need to purchase to offset your projects, products, homes, transportation, and lifestyle?  Shoot me an email at