Friday, 15 June 2007

Controlling Carbon - How Much Does It Cost?

Many people are surprised at just how inexpensive it is to offset the carbon from flights, driving and other activities. Some people feel that, if the price of carbon is too low, we won't need to change our behaviour.

Actually, it would make sense to take action even if the price of carbon were zero. Carbon management doesn't have to hurt your pocketbook; it can even help.

Vattenfall, a Swedish electric utility looked at the global cost and effectiveness of all the major greenhouse gas reduction options.

They found that the world could cost-effectively reduce CO2 emissions by 27 billion tonnes per year - a 46% reduction, at a carbon price of EUR40 (about £27) per tonne. Some measures, like shutting down coal-fired power stations in favour of gas, only made sense when the price of carbon is around EUR30 (about £20) per tonne. Others, like large scale solar and wind energy, were sensible investments at around EUR20 (£14) per tonne.

But Vattenfall found over 7 billion tonnes of annual worldwide carbon reductions that had zero or negative cost. In other words, companies, communities, and households could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and actually come out ahead. There are a range of other measures that, while not free, are extremely low-cost.

That's where we come in. Carbon Clear helps companies find those very cost effective in-house reductions that will allow them to make a real difference in the fight against climate change. Then we go out and find other low-cost emissions reductions around the world to balance out those emissions that are too costly to eliminate at home. At least in the short term. What's more, these projects help to reduce energy poverty and improve livelihoods in some of the countries on the front lines of climate change.

At some point we'll have pursued all the very low-cost emissions reduction options and the price of carbon will rise. That's as it should be. But in the meantime, we'll continue working to make it as easy and cost-effective as possible to control your carbon impact.

(Carbon Clear Homepage)