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Climate change and its impacts

Greenhouse Gases (GHG) and Climate Change. 
 

Climatic changes are lasting changes in climate. The origin of these changes may be due to natural climate variability or human activities. While natural climatic change occurs over long periods, the changes induced by humans are much faster and are mainly attributed to the industrialization of the planet and the massive use of fossil fuels which emit greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs including CO2) and change the composition of the atmosphere of the Earth.

The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon essential for life on the planet. Without this, the average temperature on Earth would be -18 ° C while it is about 15 ° C. In fact, GHGs are gaseous components in the atmosphere that have the ability to trap the sun's heat and increase the temperature of the planet. With the industrial revolution, humans have released gases into the atmosphere (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides, etc.) that artificially increase the greenhouse effect, which contributed to the increase in average temperature of our planet.

Climatic change related to global warming is a major problem that is global in scope requiring major actions to reduce emissions and develop adaptation measures.

Climatic changes are already being felt. In Canada alone, although the Arctic ecosystems are the hardest hit, scientific projections indicate that climatic changes will include the following consequences: increased smog and heat waves, the spread of infectious diseases due to the migration towards the north of insects that transmit these diseases and the possible decline in the quality and quantity of drinking water to name a few.
 

GHGs Reduction.
 

Calculate, reduce and offset their emissions.
 

Carbon offsetting offers the possibility of reducing the impact of human activities on climate. To do this, it is necessary to calculate their emissions. However, above all it is important to change our behaviour and reduce emissions. That said, regardless of the reduction efforts, citizens and businesses are faced with residual GHG emissions that can be offset by purchasing carbon credits.

The heating and cooling of buildings, electricity consumption, transport as a whole and particularly air travel are all examples of activities that generate GHG emissions and contribute to global warming. In Quebec in particular, transport is responsible for 40% of GHG emissions.

To calculate GHG emissions, some data is needed and its accuracy may vary. This section lists various formulas based on available data. The most accurate results will come from calculations based on accurate data. For example, to calculate emissions from the electrical energy consumption, it will be based on actual consumption in kWh. If you are interested in travelling by car, the amount of fuel consumed in litres, will provide a more accurate result. However, the data may be difficult to obtain and estimated approaches can be considered.

To convert emitting activities in GHG emissions, emission factors are used. A quantity of fuel multiplied by the appropriate emission factor converts litres of fuel in CO2 kg. To ensure the accuracy of calculations, recognized emission factors should be used.

Depending on whether it is the emissions of a business or civic emissions, the calculations can be more or less complex and require a thorough study of activity sectors emitting GHGs. The most common basic activities are the following:
 

Method based on available data. 

 

Home / building:             Electricity (kWh)

                                                 Natural gas (m3)

                                                  Heating oil (L)

 

 

Transport (motorcycle, car, truck, etc.):       Petrol (L)

                                                                             Diesel (L)

 

Estimation Method

 

Home / building:              Area (pi2)

 

Transport:                                Distance travelled (km)

 

Air transport:                    Distance travelled (km)

 

 

 

Why offset?
 

Personally, the offset consists of doing a voluntary act to reduce its carbon footprint and actively participate in sustainable development. From a corporate perspective, voluntary compensation can help favourably position the company as a leader in its business sector by demonstrating its social responsibility. Offset the emission of one ton of CO2, always brings a climatic benefit, because the investment is to fund projects that are conducive to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

 

 

 

Benefits of the tree.
 

Although the main cause of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions results from the combustion of fossil fuels, forest degradation and deforestation is responsible for about 20% of GHG emissions globally. Forest management as a tool to combat climatic change has therefore been seen granted a growing interest globally in recent years. Also, it is important to add that the application of reforestation practices, sustainable forest management or forest conservation not only has significant environmental benefits, but also social and economic gains.
 

Environmental benefits.
 

Forests are carbon sinks. In fact, appearing as one of the climate change mitigation levers planting trees helps to capture carbon dioxide during their growth. Beyond carbon, forests provide many environmental services. They play an important role from the hydrological point of view, soil productivity, air quality, the fight against erosion and local climate regulation.

In addition, when afforestation is done on highly degraded land restoration of the resulting ecosystem allows the creation of ecological niches for different species and thus becomes a biodiversity source.

In urban areas, tree planting also has many benefits. One of the main effects is to fight against the effects of urban heat island. The latter artificially created an increase in local temperature by the dense and built environment. In addition, the greenery acts as a filter for the ambient air and helps to capture fine particles heavily concentrated in urban areas. The vegetation cover absorbs the pollutants through photosynthesis and trap in their leaves. By increasing the production of oxygen and the reduction of CO2 by photosynthesis, the vegetation reduces air pollution.

In the built environment, trees also contribute to water retention reducing overflows and peak flows cannot be treated entirely in the water treatment stations.
 

Social and economic benefits. 
 

Reforestation generates profits for the territory on which it is located that are both economic and social thereby completing the environmental pillar of sustainable development. Reforestation projects contribute significantly to the creation of whatsoever local jobs, at the level of creation and maintenance of forested land and can also contribute to the awareness of the issues of biodiversity and preservation

 

 

Why forest carbon credit. 
 

Our carbon credits;
 

The forest carbon credits generated by CO2 Environnement come from the first and only project approved Gold Standard transition in North America the strongest standard in terms of forestry credits. Conducted in the Great Montreal region, the project focuses on reforestation of degraded and unused land in urban and semi-urban areas, as well as the upgrading of forest ecosystems and the creation of green spaces. New forests created by planting 375,000 trees are strategically located in the administrative regions of the Laurentides, Lanaudière and Montérégie.

More specifically, the site of the company plantations are located in Terrebonne on land belonging to the Golf Club Mirage in Carignan, on the lands of a private developer in St. Bruno on land belonging to the company DJL at Mirabel on land managed by Aéroports de Montreal and the Quebec Ministry of Transport and in Blainville on the land in the municipality. Of this plantation, 41,890 carbon credits have been approved by reforesting more than 110 hectares of wasteland

 

Marketing related to carbon offset.
 

The compensation or carbon neutrality can help you stand out from the competition by positioning yourself as being an innovative player in your business sector by using this as an important point in your communications. However, it is prudent to clearly communicate the purpose of the carbon offset and ensure the purchase of offsets whose quality is perfect to avoid "greenwashing".

In fact, in a movement where companies are increasingly seeking to position themselves as being more socially responsible, cite that all the reforestation initiatives are not equal. Planting a tree does not necessarily lead to the granting of carbon credits according to recognized a standard which has no valid impact from the climate point of view. For the process to be credible and that there is no detrimental effect to the company, the carbon credit must have been certified by an independent body.

 

 

Carbon credits in general.
 

Analyzing standards;
 

What we are interested in the regulatory market or voluntary market, some basic concepts must be respected to ensure the soundness and credibility of the carbon credits and therefore their climatic benefits. The main basic concepts refer to additionality, leaks, permanence, third party verification and the uniqueness of the credit so that it is impossible to sell the same credit more than once.

A certain number of standards exist in the voluntary market to ensure the quality of carbon credits. There are the VCS, Gold Standard transition (GS), the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCBS), the Plan Vivo, the Climate Action Registry (CAR) and the Social Carbon. However, some standards do not generate carbon credits themselves and do not have a record of avoiding double counting attesting the transparency of the process. This is particularly the case of the ISO 14064 and the standards which are only interested in social aspect or biodiversity.
 

Quality criteria.
 

Additionality;
 

Building block of carbon credits, the activities to reduce GHG emissions must be additional. In other words, they should allow demonstrating that the reduction would not have occurred in a business as usual scenario. Thus, the emission reductions would not have occurred without the funding of the offset thereby offering an additional climate benefit.
 

Leaks;
 

The leaks are interested in moving or increasing the GHG emissions beyond the project limits and which are generated by its implementation, by the movement of people or activities. These should be targeted and compensation measures must be set up as long as they are being monitored and deducted from the total emission reductions that can be claimed. They are a particularly important issue with regard to reforestation projects.
 

Permanence;
 

The forestry projects lead to net reductions in emissions through the storage of CO2 from the atmosphere. One of the key points is to ensure that the reductions through these projects result in permanent benefits and that the carbon sequestered will not be released into the atmosphere as a result of hazards such as fire or vermin to name a few. The serious standards such as the Gold Standard transition have adopted several methods to insure the risks of non-permanence associated with these projects.

Verification;
 

To ensure the credibility of carbon credits, the serious standards establish procedures and design processes of the projects and make the verification by third parties mandatory for the issuance of credits. The verification of the reductions of emission achieved requires frequent and constant monitoring of results over time to ensure that the reductions are actually achieved.

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