Talking about greenhouse gas emission compensation, you will find out that the whole world is talking about offsetting via carbon credits. By digging deeper into the carbon credit world you will note that there are a lot of carbon credit types with different characteristics.
Carbon credits are mentioned the first time in the Kyoto Protocol (1997), introducing market-based mechanism like Joint Implementation (JI) and Clean Development Mechanism. Through these mechanisms, individuals and companies could develop “green” projects which generate carbon credits like Certificate Emission Reduction (CER) and Emission Reduction Units (ERU).
During the last two decades more and more carbon credit standards have been established by non-profit-organizations with different characteristics but the same overall goal: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions. One common characteristic of carbon credits is that one unit is equivalent to one metric ton of CO2 emissions. Let’s see the different kind of carbon credits which has been established until now:
Certified Emission Reduction (CER)
CERs are emitted by the Clean Development Mechanism scheme under the rules of the Kyoto Protocol which can only be located in non-Annex 1 countries (without Kyoto obligation to reduce emissions) These projects are verified by third-party auditors and approved or rejected by a CDM Executive Board. These certificates are traded in a compliance and voluntary market.
Emission Reduction Unit (ERU)
ERUs, based on the Joint Implementation scheme, were mentioned the first time in the Kyoto Protocol and were bought and sold between Annex 1 countries.
Gold Standard (GS)
The Gold Standard has been established by WWF and other international NGOs and focus on environmental and social benefits. It can be used as an add-on for CDM projects in order to increase the quality.
Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)
The NGO Verra established the VCS with CDM- like Monitoring, Verification, Reporting (MRV) requirements. It is the largest voluntary standard in the world, counting with more than 1300 projects.
Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS)
Verra also manages the CCBS which is focused on land-based climate change projects that create employment, protect traditional cultures and endangered species between other things. Nowadays, 100 projects have been validated.