Zero Carbon Project purchases carbon credits from Chinese electric-hybrid bus fleet

As part of Zero Carbon Project ongoing carbon offsets programme, we purchased 30 international carbon credits from a project in China, featuring switching a bus fleet to the world’s largest fleet of hybrid and electric buses.

This involved purchasing and surrendering 30 CERs (Certified Emissions Certificate) costing USD45 or $1.50/tonne. This transaction offsets 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to emissions from 10 typical households over a year. We chose the Bus Rapid Transit in Zhengzhou project which involves 3,000 new large hybrid buses including over 100 electric battery charged buses and the rest gas-electric plug-in hybrids. The project details can be viewed at https://offset.climateneutralnow.org/brt-zhengzhou-china-4744-

Chinese hybrid-electric bus fleet

We transacted the purchase and cancellation of the CERs across the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework convention on Climate Change) website platform, called Climate Neutral Now https://offset.climateneutralnow.org which is an initiative launched by the UN Climate Change in 2015. Climate Neutral Now aims at encouraging and supporting all levels of society to take climate action to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century, as enshrined in the Paris Agreement.

International Carbon Credits

International carbon credits are a complex market regulated by international agreements ratified by the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. “Certified emission reductions or CERs are electronic certificates issued for greenhouse gas emission reductions from clean development mechanism (CDM) project activities in accordance with the CDM rules and requirements. Each CER is equivalent to one metric tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2e) avoided or removed from the atmosphere.” (From https://offset.climateneutralnow.org/faq_offset_footprint)

The Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 plans to extend and improve on the framework post 2020 with a wider remit including carbon emission projects in developed countries. The details are still being designed.

One of the issues has been the difficulty of proving ‘additionality’. This means that a carbon emission reduction project should only be issued carbon credits, or CERs, if the project can demonstrate that it would not have proceeded without the subsidy. For instance, if a carbon credit was purchased from a carbon emission project that would still have gone ahead without having received the subsidy, then we are not really offsetting our carbon emissions.

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