Local scheme will allow carbon emissions offset
ISLANDERS will soon be able to offset their carbon emissions to a local scheme.
Marc Laine, the founder of ESI Monitor, which assesses companies’ commitment to the environment and community, recently met the Ambassador of Costa Rica to talk about the opportunity of establishing a reforestation scheme in central America.
‘Some people might think of offsetting as being a bit of a fig leaf where a company can pay a bit of money to off-set their carbon emissions, but continue to behave atrociously with little regard for the environment,’ Mr Laine said.
‘That is not the case and offsetting should be looked at as a last-case scenario once the business has done all it can to reduce its carbon emissions in the first place, where it has measured, managed and minimised its footprint.
‘Once a business has minimised its footprint, carbon offsetting allows it to continue the journey to one of restorative action. Businesses that fail to minimise their energy and waste will not be saved by simple offsets.’
The reforestation project which Mr Laine, the ambassador and a team of environmentally-conscious business people aim to develop in Costa Rica will not just offset carbon, it will also provide work for indigenous people, thus reducing economic migration, increase biodiversity and protect the rainforests it buffers.
However, he recognised that many islanders would probably prefer a scheme to be developed locally, rather than in a place more than 5,000 miles away.
‘People like to do good but also be seen to be doing good,’ he said.
‘At ESI Monitor we are creating a scheme that provides evidence to show that someone has offset their driving and boating emissions.
‘Islanders would go online, pay to offset their fuel for the year and we would send a disc which would go in the car or vehicle to show that they had off-set their fuel.’
Half of the offsetting money will go to a reforestation offset scheme and half to a restorative scheme in Guernsey.
‘We can use that off-set money from drivers and boaters to support local schemes, whether that be local reforestation, help with kelp farming, renewable projects in the community, etc,’ he said.
‘No doubt offsetting in Guernsey will be more expensive on a per ton of Co2 offset, so it may come with options.’
The company is currently looking for a sponsor for the scheme and will run a competition for creating the art which would appear on the discs.
Mr Laine explained that just planting enough trees to off-set emissions was not enough; the scheme needed to be held to a high standard to guarantee they would still be there in 40 to 50 years and be a real benefit to the environment.
Recognising that off-setting was not a miracle cure to the problems facing the environment and biodiversity currently, Mr Laine believed doing something was always better than doing nothing.
‘Doing a bit [to help the environment] turns into a bit more tomorrow, and a bit more than that the next day. For any addict, the first step to recovery is to admit there is a problem, offsetting is that first step.’
What will the Carbon Offset Plus scheme look like?
A person wishing to participate will visit the COP webpage, which will be co-branded with the sponsor information.
A user will enter details of engine size, fuel type and average miles travelled each year into the system (average in Gsy is 6000 per year).
The webpage will show the cost of the COP based on Co2 produced and offer the option to pay the COP.
In return for the payment, ESIM will send a unique disc, with mileage estimated engine size printed and sponsor branding on the reverse. Users will mount the disc in the windscreen similar to an insurance disc, demonstrating that they have offset and taken restorative action.
In the case of a boat owner or private aircraft user, they will input fuel data for either a journey or an annual estimate.