Please use our A-Z INDEX to navigate this site or return HOME



PlanetSolar is a rare animal, a zero carbon boat that contributes to zero emission objectives, but attracts no carbon credits. Similar projects with higher commercial expectations in reducing fleet emissions, also fall at the first hurdle in UN certificate terms. But projects to plant trees or change from coal to solar or wind generation pass with flying colours.


Magnificent though such objectives are, simply changing a boiler does not advance technology that may change the face of dirty shipping, for a shiny clean face. It may then benefit the UN's climate change targets to recognize the value of projects with the potential to revolutionize, or at least accelerate the change to clean shipping. That same applies to land transport, where infrastructure is lacking, needing to be jump started, rather more urgently than at present.


In the world of carbon dioxide reduction, there are such things as Certificates for some projects, mainly centered about developing countries, such as tree planting, installing solar water heaters and providing low carbon bus routes, to name a few.



Carbon credits create a market for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by giving a monetary value to the cost of polluting clean air. Emissions become an internal cost of doing business and are visible on the balance sheet alongside raw materials and other liabilities or assets.

For example, consider a business that owns a factory putting out 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in a year. Its Government is an Annex I country that enacts a law to limit the emissions that the business can produce. So the factory is given a quota of say 80,000 tonnes per year. The factory either reduces its emissions to 80,000 tonnes or is required to purchase carbon credits to offset the excess. After costing up alternatives the business may decide that it is uneconomical or infeasible to invest in new machinery for that year. Instead it may choose to buy carbon credits on the open market from organizations that have been approved or selected as being able to sell legitimate carbon credits, free of discrimination one would hope.

We should consider the impact of manufacturing alternative energy sources. For example, the energy consumed and the carbon emitted in the manufacture and transportation of a large wind turbine would prohibit a credit being issued for a predetermined period of time. Another factor is that credits should reflect a true value of clean enterprise, rather then unduly burden eco entrepreneurs who depend on equitable remuneration to underpin their endeavours.


An example that is closed to our heart, is clean shipping, where at the moment there are no grants for such research projects that may lead to solar powered ships of the future. Whereas the branch of the UN that deals with airborne pollution, the IMO, requires ship exhausts to become cleaner in stages, with 2030 as the first target, leading to completely clean vessels in 2050. But we have not seen any incentive in terms of recognised carbon offsetting for such R&D. Though we are making efforts to define why this may or may not be so.




Ships that transport cargos, have first to be (1) built, then (2) operated. 


1. - The cost in terms of energy, materials and labour is a negative, but goods have to be transported. So, as ships need to be renewed, this cost is negated. Because it is inevitable.


2. - The cost of operating the ship is determined by the nautical miles (NM) per ton of bunker fuel, multiplied by the CO2 produced per NM traveled. That figure is in turn multiplied by the distance the vessel is likely to travel during its operational lifetime.





Ships that run on energy from nature also have to be built and operated and may (to begin with) cost a little more to construct than diesel powered vessels. But come into their own when calculating the emission of CO2 per nautical mile, which is of course zero.


Zero multiplied by 1.2 million nautical miles = zero. 1.2 million miles being an estimate of distance over a 10 year operational period. Solar panels are rated @ 20 year lifetime, with tail off in performance as they get older. Wind turbines also have a long lifetime of service. The hydraulics controlling such harvesting devices will need to be serviced, but then diesel engines also need oil changes, etc.


Each UN credit is equivalent to one tonne of CO2 towards meeting Kyoto targets.





Kenya has unveiled Africa‘s largest wind power plant, a project aimed at reducing electricity costs and dependence on fossil fuels and moving the nation to meet an ambitious goal of 100 percent green energy next year. The sprawling wind farm of 365 turbines on the shores of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya was designed to boost the nation’s electricity supply by 13 percent, giving more Kenyans access at a lower cost, President Uhuru Kenyatta said at its launch. About 70 percent of the nation’s electricity comes from renewable sources such as hydropower and geothermal – more than three times the global average.


The Gandhi Project is a sustainable wind farm program across India, including in Mahatma Gandhi’s hometown of Porbandar. As a developing nation, India’s main sources of energy are coal and other fossil fuels, which account for 56% of all electricity produced, compared to 5% in the UK. The Gandhi Project aims to help India on the path to clean energy, along with supporting local communities through scholarships, creating jobs and providing food aid.

The Gandhi Project in numbers: 21 wind turbines, 36GWh of green electricity generated annually, 33,000 tonnes less carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, supporting 80 schools through construction and scholarships, assisting over 800 beneficiaries of food aid.




Put in the simplest terms, carbon offsetting is compensating for these emissions by funding projects that have a positive environmental impact elsewhere, for example in reforestation programs or investing in renewable energy in developing countries. In theory, we’re ‘carbon repairing’ what we have ‘carbon damaged’.

The carbon offsetting market


The carbon offset market is divided into two main categories: offsetting for compliance reasons and voluntary carbon offsets.

Carbon offset projects


For most of us, the first thing that springs to mind when we hear of carbon offsetting programs is tree planting and reforestation projects. In truth, there are a number of concerns when it comes to projects like this. For example, it can take 10-20 years for a tree to grow and sequester the emissions provided by just one flight.

Another concern is the issue of ‘carbon leakage’. This is when, for example, a deforestation project is paid for as part of a carbon offsetting program, but the company logging in that area simply decides to move on to another forest instead, completely counteracting your offset.

The other main type of project is the replacement of old coal-fired energy plants with solar, hydro or wind power. Besides the obvious environmental benefits of reducing fossil fuel fumes, these projects often provide new jobs and other benefits to the local community.

Where does carbon offset money go?


Not all carbon offsets are created equal. If you’re considering investing in a carbon offsetting program, you’re going to want to do some research to know exactly what you’re investing in.

Carbon certifications and quality labels


It can sometimes be confusing to know which program to choose to be certain your investment is going where you intend it to. While the compliance carbon market is regulated, the voluntary carbon market is not. Instead, there are a few different verification standards to assure investors that their money is going to a good cause. Therefore, it’s worth doing some research beforehand so you’re clued up on the transparency and credibility of any organisation carrying out voluntary carbon offset projects.




The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty committing nations to limits on emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2, to reduce the impact of climate change. Under this Treaty, nations may trade standardized carbon units to offset their own production of the greenhouse gas.

The commitment period reserve

In order to address the concern that Parties could "oversell" units, and subsequently be unable to meet their own emissions targets, each Party is required to maintain a reserve of ERUs, CERs, AAUs and/or RMUs in its national registry. This reserve, known as the "commitment period reserve", should not drop below 90 per cent of the Party's assigned amount or 100 per cent of five times its most recently reviewed inventory, whichever is lowest

Relationship to domestic and regional emissions trading schemes

Emissions trading schemes may be established as climate policy instruments at national and regional level. Under such schemes, governments set emissions obligations to be reached by the participating entities. The European Union emissions trading scheme is the largest in operation.

The Union Registry serves to guarantee accurate accounting for all allowances issued under the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS). The registry keeps track of the ownership of allowances held in electronic accounts, just as a bank has a record of all its customers and their money.

The Union Registry is an online database that holds accounts for stationary installations (transferred from the national registries used before 2012) and for aircraft operators (included in the EU ETS since January 2012).




Main office
UNFCCC secretariat
UN Campus
Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1
53113 Bonn

Haus Carstanjen Office
Martin-Luther-King-Strasse 8
53175 Bonn

Mailing address
UNFCCC secretariat
P.O. Box 260124
D-53153 Bonn

Phone: (49-228) 815-1000
Fax: (49-228) 815-1999


















Please use our A-Z INDEX to navigate this site



This website is Copyright © 2021 Jameson Hunter Ltd