Why do you have tokens for 21kg per person per day?
21kg CO2e represents the average household carbon footprint per person in Australia. We get to this number as follows:
The average Australian household generates between around 18 tonnes CO2-e per year. We start with 20 tonnes. Dividing by 2.6 (the average number of people in an Australian household) gives 7.7 tonnes CO2e per person per year or 21 kg per person per day.
This number is a per person per household footprint. It is the impact of the household, without considering what the people living in it do, so it doesn’t include activities such as travel and recreation. If these are included, then the per capita carbon footprint in Australia is around 22.4 tonnes CO2e per year, or around 61kg per person per day.
Incidentally, you may have heard that 21kg is about the amount of CO2e removed by one mature tree in a year - although the true impact is probably far less than that.
WTF is C2Zero?
C2Zero is an ingredient brand, which transforms the purchase of any branded good or service into an opportunity for people to take carbon allowances out of the hands of big polluters. It means they can never be used to ‘offset’ their big-bad doings. By locking away these carbon allowances in our virtual carbon vault ‘CEDO’ – C2Zero guarantees that these allowances can never be bought and used to release CO2 into the atmosphere.
How does C2Zero work?
C2Zero participates in the international carbon market to buy carbon allowances. These are logged into our digital registry. We then embed that carbon into everyday goods and services using serialised micro credit tokens. The C2Zero token records the amount of C02 a customer is retiring, which allows them to track the C02 emissions that they have eliminated, forever. Once purchased, these carbon allowances are locked in the C2Zero vault “CEDO” – where they will never, ever be used to release carbon into the atmosphere.
The Emissions Gap and Why it Matters?
We know our earth is warming, and we know it is warming too fast. This is because the heat that we create by all sorts of activities is prevented from escaping from our atmosphere by the greenhouse gases we emit as pollution.The ‘Emissions Gap’ is the scary difference between where current policy and practice gets us and where we need to be to keep global warming within sustainable levels (of 1.5 degrees Celsius). You’ve never heard this gap because no one likes to talk about it. It’s why we need to change and reframe the pollution game. Current measures are having a positive effect and we are optimistic that we can do even better, but this will take considerable effort from all of us. We all need to reduce our emissions, but more importantly, we need the big polluters to reduce theirs. They are responsible for the majority of pollution. Without putting pressure on them, changing our behaviour will only have a limited effect.
That is why it matters.
C2Zero promises that we will never ever use an emissions allowance for polluting. That is the core of our business and without it, we are nothing.
The C2Zero brandmark is a mark of trust. Every time you see it, you can be sure that what is behind it is real. Obviously, we can say that, but without proof then how do you know it is true? That is why we have gone to considerable lengths and expense to build an ecosystem which provides full provenance in a way which is robust and transparent. Every stakeholder can track and monitor their activity. Every brand can see their impact and every user can see their contribution. Every emissions allowance held by C2Zero and the underlying C02 it is mapped to is securely held and fully traceable. All this is also externally verified by an independent auditor.
The core component to C2Zero are the emissions allowances we purchase, cut into bite size pieces and attach to goods and services. These pollution allowances (not offsets linked to things like trees or other activities) are held in our digital vault CEDO never to pollute. Big polluters (unlike C2Zero) must surrender these allowances when they pollute, otherwise they get into trouble. We take allowances away from big polluters and lock them away in our (digital) vault CEDO forever, or we surrender them – just like the polluters do – but with one big difference. We do not pollute.
One emissions unit surrendered by a big polluter = 1 tonne of CO2 (or equivalent) released into the earth’s atmosphere.
One emissions unit held or surrendered by C2Zero = no CO2 released.
Our ledgers and our vault are all transparent. Provenance is the heart and soul of C2Zero. Every transaction - from the 450 grams of CO2 attached to your coffee to the one tonne in your T-shirt or sunglasses - is recorded in our ledger. Every brand can monitor and track the carbon linked to their goods services and activities. Every user can monitor and track the goods and services they have purchased. They can see the good they are doing, locking away forever the allowances and permits that big polluters would otherwise use to pollute.
No polluter will get their hands on an emissions allowance that is held by C2Zero. Never ever. That’s our promise.
What is C02?
We all know CO2 or Carbon Dioxide as a gas made up of two oxygen and one carbon atom. It is the common by-product of combustion, and humans and animals release CO2 as we live and breathe. In our atmosphere, CO2 has always been in our atmosphere. It is referred to as a greenhouse gas as it turns the earth into a greenhouse. Lately, the amount of CO2 has been rising, and is at the highest level it has been in at least 800,000 years. This is bad. It is bad because as we do stuff (like eating, travelling, building and more), we release heat. CO2 traps this heat around our planet, which results in the earth heating up (like a greenhouse). According to NASA it is now 1 degree hotter on average than it was in 1980. And this rate of increase is accelerating.
CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas, and it is not the worst. It is just the most common one. Other gases include methane, nitrous oxides and fluorinated gases. These are all much worse than CO2, but not as common. For example, the global warming potential of Nitrous Oxide is 25 times more than for an equivalent amount of CO2.
What is a carbon footprint?
The discussion about climate change and around carbon can be confusing. To start with, greenhouse gases, carbon and carbon dioxide are all different things. Then we have carbon footprints, which is a way of talking about a quantity of gas, and we measure that footprint in tonnes. A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by an individual, event, organisation, service or product, expressed as a carbon dioxide equivalent.
Why aiming for neutral is not enough?
When the people of our planet commit to being ‘carbon neutral’, it means we’re promising to go nowhere. Just like when a car is in neutral. And going nowhere may as well be going backwards – fast. With the rate of climate change accelerating, we need to take more radical action if we’re going to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. We need to be more ambitious than “neutral”. We need to eliminate the amount of C02 being released – this means doing more than just neutralising our existence. Our kids’ future depends on us stopping the world settling for the idea of ‘carbon neutrality’ as the best we can do.
What is Offsetting?
This is a long one dear reader, but please read on…
When it comes to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, offsetting is a common term and probably one you have heard before.
What exactly is offsetting?
Offsetting the climate impact of something means doing something else which cancels the effect of whatever is causing the impact. To simplify we express all greenhouse emissions in terms of CO2 [link to the FAQ on CO2]. If we measure the impact of an activity by the amount of CO2 (or equivalent) that it releasee, then offsetting means doing something else which reduces CO2 by the same amount.
So, anything which reduces CO2 can technically be used to offset anything which produces CO2. Sounds simple.
An example is useful to illustrate. When you take an airline flight, the airline gives you the option of offsetting the impact of your flight. What happens when you tick the box? You pay some money which goes towards offsetting the CO2 attributed to you for your seat on the flight. How is this achieved?
If there was a machine or process which could extract CO2 from the atmosphere (without polluting itself), then your money could pay to run the machine to remove the CO2 which your presence on the flight has created. Such a machine does not exist yet (although considerable research is being done to create one). So, we turn to other ways to remove CO2. This is where offsetting gets complicated.
Most common, we are shown images of trees. Trees remove CO2. But unlike a machine which removes CO2, trees cannot be switched on or off. They are just there. They might be young or old, growing, or mature, but at some level, a tree is removing CO2 which is “used” as an offset to your emission of CO2.
But wasn’t the tree doing that anyway?
And that is where it gets even more complicated. Some offsets are linked to trees that are already there and have been for a long time. On a net basis, these trees have removed CO2 just as they have been doing for all their (mature) life. As your offset, that CO2 is allocated to you for ticking the box on your flight ticket. Somewhere along the chain, money changes hands, theoretically from you ultimately to the custodian of “your” trees (with one or more intermediaries who most likely take a cut along the way. Now, given that the tree is already there and already reducing CO2, is anything actually changing when it is allocated to cover your emissions? The answer is maybe. As an offset, mature trees do remove CO2, but does that mean that the incremental CO2 from your presence on that flight is being removed or not?
What is Offsetting (continued)
The real question is: “by ticking the offset box, is more CO2 removed from the system than if the box is left unchecked?”
Irrespective of whether there is any difference, once trees are assigned to offsetting, they won’t be chopped down (they may burn...). So, on a net basis, they are contributing to CO2 reduction.
What about planting trees? Yes, planting more trees will remove more CO2, but that takes time. Trees take years to mature. So, does planting a tree qualify as an offset? Again – maybe. Eventually, a new tree will mature and remove CO2. But in the interim, CO2 is still out there and is contributing to global warming.
Not all offsets are linked to trees. Offsets linked to many other activities. These range far and wide from installing clean burning stoves in remote villages, supplying wind and solar energy and reforestation. Offsets also become very “derived” and somewhat ambiguous. Backburning is regarded as an offset (yes – you burn trees which releases CO2 – which hopefully prevents even more trees from burning and releasing even more CO2! So, how does paying money for an offset like backburning actually offset the effect of your flight? This is hard to answer. It depends on factors specific to the type of offset your money goes towards, and how the effect of that offset is measured (what if the big fire never come?).
If an offset is directly removing CO2 from the atmosphere, then there is a direct linkage to an activity. Where the offset does not have a direct link (for example building renewable energy projects, reforestation, backburning) you will have to rely on the governance around the offset project. If it is strong, then at some stage, there should be a benefit commensurate with the impact of the activity being offset.
Not all offsets are created equal.
It is interesting to observe the cost of offsetting. At the low end, offsets can cost less than one (US) dollar per tonne of CO2e, while the top end is USD15 per tonne. We won’t go into detail about why such large price differences exist, but will note that the motivation for offsetting may well influence the choice of offset. Where it is being done just to be able to tick a box that an activity is carbon neutral, price, rather than quality of outcome may be the major driver of choice.
What is Offsetting vs Carbon Credits vs Emissions Allowances?
Hopefully you understand what offsetting is and the nuances between different forms of offsetting, including the cost and net effect. If not, please read our FAQ on offsetting above.
Carbon credits are just the currency linked to offsetting activities. They are usually expressed in tonnes CO2e. Technically, each tonne of CO2e reduced by an activity, gives the “owner” of that activity one carbon credit.
In certain situations, the actual quantity of carbon credits assigned to an activity is not directly measurable (the number of tonnes CO2e reduced is not easily ascertained) or is difficult to ascertain. For example, how many carbon credits are attributable to backburning? Although there is no global standard, there are many government and private organisations which accredit carbon offset schemes. If there is proper governance around the measurement and accreditation of offset schemes, then there should be a degree of accuracy and consistency which enables carbon credits to be compared and used with confidence. An example of a highly regulated scheme is the ACCU scheme legislated by the Australian Government.
Carbon Allowances or Emissions Allowances are different to carbon credits. They are tradeable units, regulated by a Government or other authority and underlie an emissions trading scheme or ETS. Certain industries and polluters are mandatorily part of these ETS’s and are required to surrender emissions allowances when they pollute. The regulatory authority sets guidelines about what industries are covered and how the surrender process works. It also sets punitive measures for non-compliance. Ultimately, Emissions allowances are “permits to pollute” for big polluters. They can also be surrendered voluntarily by other polluters. As part of an emissions trading scheme, emissions allowances can be traded which allows “the market” to set a price for them (subject to controls and constraints). These allowances do not always end up in the hands of polluters. Because they are part of a marketplace, speculators and investors may take part in emissions trading schemes, with the aim of profiting from price moves.
For more information on emissions trading schemes, see our Cap and Trade page. At this time, the European Union has the most developed ETS globally. Please see this link for more information.Note: An emissions unit in the C2Zero vault Cedo will never ever be sold. It will either be held in perpetuity or retired without polluting.
Which industries buy Emissions Allowances?
Each ETS differs slightly in the way it operates and what industries must mandatorily participate. Generally, participants are the big polluters such as manufacturing industries, power generators and in some cases airlines. Sometimes participation is set by the amount of pollution an activity generates being above a specified threshold. Smaller industries and business and households generally are not mandated to participate. This is because regulation and compliance for small polluters is difficult, while in some instances, emissions are already covered upstream (ie closer to production) rather than downstream (at end use). An example of this is if an oil refinery covers its emissions and the emissions from its end product (fuel) then the users of that fuel (motorists) are already covered. If they had to participate then the coverage would double (which may not be a bad outcome!).
Note: in most ETS, polluters are given some allowances for free and must go into the market and purchase any additional units. This is done to facilitate an orderly transition from an uncovered (i.e. no allowances) system to a market-based system. Over time, the number of free units issued to polluters will decrease.
Why are we taking on big polluters?
Because big polluters are responsible for the majority of carbon emissions. In fact, just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. These companies hold the key to systematic change on carbon emissions. If we can change the behaviour of these kinds of companies, if we can get them to clean up their act, we will make a significant difference to climate change.
How will buying Emission Allowances and locking them in a vault actually make a difference?
The cap and trade mechanics of ETSs means that polluters have an available pool of allowances available for polluting. The size of the pool is fixed (within limits or constraints set by the regulator of the relevant scheme). This sets a cap on the amount of pollution which these polluters can emit.
Despite the shrinking of this cap over time, emissions reductions are not aggressive enough to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees by 2100. When C2Zero buys emissions allowances, they will never ever be used to pollute. This effectively reduces the cap which is the pool of allowances available to big polluters. The result is less capacity to pollute. The more allowances C2Zero buys, the more difference this will make in ensuring that there is less pollution emitted by big polluters.
Each emissions unit locked away by C2Zero is one tonne CO2e less that can end up being released into the earth’s atmosphere.
How do we store Emission Allowances and how do you know they are locked away forever?
C2Zero logs our carbon credit allowances into CEDO (in the blockchain), so they are accounted for and will be locked away forever. You can’t rob this bank. It’s our forever guarantee that the good you do with C2Zero in this life will never be undone, ever. And anyone can view the amount that is locked away, we are fully transparent. Our carbon vault CEDO is independently audited (by a reputable external organisation) to provide another level of legitimacy, transparency and provenance
Does Australia have an emissions trading system?
Australia does not have an emissions trading system. That has not always been the case. In 2011, the Australian parliament legislated for the implementation of an ETS. It was agreed in 2012 that the Australian scheme would link to the EU’s ETS. After a transition period, the Government announced that a move to a full ETS would happen in 2014. Unfortunately, late in 2013, legislation to repeal the ETS was introduced. It would be replaced by an emissions reduction fund (which would fund climate research and emission reductions projects)[1,2].
At present, Australia is at risk of not having its free trade deal with the EU ratified unless it improves its position on climate change. It is likely that a Carbon Border Tax will be levied on Australian exports to the EU (as part of an EU measure to tax goods imported from any country which does not have a carbon price).
Australia does have a regulated carbon credits system based on Australian Carbon Credit Units or ACCUs. However, these are generally issued to accredited offsetting activities and are voluntarily used (purchased) in offsetting programs (like ticking the box on your airline ticket).
Australia’s position on climate change is controversial and as yet unresolved!
Why it doesn’t matter that Australia doesn’t have a carbon trading system?
We won’t lie, we would love Australia to have a regulated emissions allowances scheme. But it doesn’t. And we don’t have time to wait for one. Climate change is a wicked global problem that needs a radical global solution. Borders and politics don’t matter. To help Australia, we need to change the behaviour of the world’s biggest polluters. If we can stop them emitting C02, we can eliminate the emissions gap. And we’re hopeful that in a few years, Australia will get on board and have a carbon trading system. But in the meantime, our kids need us all to get out there and kick big pollution’s butt.
What type of companies do you work with?
C2Zero aims to work with ‘good’ organisations, companies and brands that share our environmental ethos, vision and mission. We are a passionate and ambitious group of people on a mission to force the world’s biggest polluters to clean up their act. Remember, our mission is to eliminate carbon emissions (CO2) - we want to work with people and companies that want the same!
Hang on. Shouldn’t we just plant more trees?
Yes. We love trees, and we should keep planting them, but we’d be lying if we told you that they’re the silver bullet to solving climate change. In fact, the jury is still out about how much they can actually help us. Because trees can take decades to reach maturity and sequester enough carbon. And time is something we don’t have. We need to stop carbon emissions from being released. We need to stop big polluters from treating our atmosphere like a garbage dump.
Wait. Aren’t disposable coffee cups evil?
Yes, they are. They range from very evil to less evil, depending on how they are made and how they are disposed of.
So why is C2Zero working with coffee cups?
In an ideal world, there would be no disposable cups. In the real there are. The numbers are huge. Estimated at 2.5 billion per year in Britain and about one billion per year in Australia, most of these end up in landfill. While we would prefer no one used disposable cups, we know that in reality many of us use them some or all of the time.
We deliberated, and in the end decided that putting C2Zero onto coffee cups could at worst – do no harm – but ultimately could do good. Because of the vast number of disposable cups consumed, they are an effective way to get the C2Zero brandmark and message out there. Our rationale is that consumption of coffee in disposable cups is already widely practiced. If we work with coffee suppliers, then in the short term, we can prevent emissions equivalent to or greater than those linked to the production and consumption of the coffee in cups carrying our brandmark. We are able to access and engage with a large audience at a low cost. With engagement (you are reading this now!), we can educate and ultimately influence behaviour positively. Did you know that the carbon footprint of a disposable coffee cup is approximately 110 grams? Get a reusable cup (and make sure you keep using it).
But it is not just about carbon footprint.
The way disposable cups are made and how they are disposed of can vary their overall impact. Best practice (besides not using them at all) is to ensure cups are:
• Composted – no good if a compostable cup ends up in landfill or in the ocean!
• Skip the lid – it just adds to your footprint
• Stay away from plastic cups and plastic lined cups
• Or – we say again - get a reusable cup!
Note: Our partner The Little Marionette dispenses coffee in all forms. Their cups are compostable. They use paper lids and actively encourage proper disposal of them. They also focus on sourcing their products from sustainable and ethical suppliers and are actively engaged with in increasing sustainability in their own practice (like exploring the use of solar powered coffee carts and more) and spreading the message to their customers.
 https://www.terrapass.com/reduce-the-carbon-footprint-of-coffee-cups This number will vary depending on the type of cup.
Green washing or not?
The Urban Dictionary says greenwashing is: “when companies pretend to be environmentally friendly when in fact they are not.
This term can apply to individuals too.
We realise that if misused, C2Zero could aid and abet the practice of greenwashing. To ensure that this does not happen we abide by a rigid set of rules and work within a rigid framework.
• C2Zero uses emissions allowances (the ones big polluters must surrender when they pollute), not carbon credits (from offsetting activities)
• Every C2Zero token links to emissions allowances that are locked away in our vault (Cedo) forever or are retired without ever being used to pollute• Any emissions allowance in Cedo will never be sold
• All tokens are traceable to the underlying emissions units
• All tokens and the underlying emissions units are recorded in our register. This register is transparent and independently audited
• All C2Zero transactions in any ETS are also independently audited.
We will never embed tokenistic amounts of carbon into goods and services. An example of greenwashing would be setting up C2Zero tokens with small amounts of carbon (like 1 gram) and embedding them into products with large carbon footprints (like mattresses, sandshoes and cars). We would never do this. At a minimum, the carbon in a token will be commensurate with the carbon footprint of the underlying product. In most cases, we try to embed more carbon than the underlying footprint. We also try to supercharge certain products and items with multiples more carbon than the footprint of the product (for example out T-shirts with one tonne CO2e).
C2Zero is not a substitute for sustainable practices. It is not a tool to cover polluting activities or to make brands and consumers look green. We are additive. Out ethos says to all stakeholders “do your best”, “become sustainable”, “use best practice”, “be green”. Then add C2Zero to do more.
Carbon footprints are sometimes hard to calculate. Calculations are often ambiguous. We are not a calculation source. We rely on external calculations for the carbon content associated with products. Our philosophy and practice are to at a minimum “round up” and to use the higher numbers where there are multiple calculations. This works well, and we are comfortable that overall our generous quantities of carbon make us true to our motto “neutral is not enough”.
If we get it wrong (we are fallible!), we are happy to engage and we will change our practice once we identify an error or omission.
Please tell us where we can improve.
What is the C2Zero business model?
C2Zero is a “Purpose-driven” company but not “Not for Profit”The practices we use and the commitments we demonstrate are ethical and fully audited – giving everyone reassurance that C2Zero and the brands associated with us are responsible.
Is my purchase tax deductible?
You are purchasing goods and services or certificates with C2Zero tokens attached. Because these are not donations, your purchases are not tax deductable.
How does partnering with C2Zero help the environment?
We’re taking the permission slips (carbon allowances) out of the hands of big polluters – so they can’t use them to pollute. This forces these companies to clean up their act and produce less carbon emissions.
What does 1 tonne of CO2 look like?
People are not good at responding to invisible threats. We react quickly if something looks menacing, anything invisible tends to be ignored. Believe us 1 tonne of CO2 (carbon dioxide) is menacing and should not be ignored.At low concentrations CO2 is invisible, colourless and odourless; however, at sufficiently-high concentrations, it has a sharp, acidic odour. This however, does not prevent it, like the air, from having a mass: 1,964 g/litre or 1.964 kg/m3 and is about 1.53 times the density of air. To help you visualise 1 Tonne of CO2 it is equivalent to the average emission of a return-flight economy from Paris to New York.
What countries does C2Zero work in?
C2Zero has launched in Australia but we have great ambition to help save the planet and stop big pollution so we will be taking C2Zero to the world, soon. Watch this space!
How can I calculate my carbon footprint?
“The world’s largest per capita CO2 emitters are the major oil producing countries; this is particularly true for those with relatively low population size. Most are in the Middle East: In 2017 Qatar had the highest emissions at 49 tonnes (t) per person, followed by Trinidad and Tobago (30t); Kuwait (25t); United Arab Emirates (25t); Brunei (24t); Bahrain (23t) and Saudi Arabia (19t).”
“However, many of the major oil producers have a relatively small population meaning their total annual emissions are low. More populous countries with some of the highest per capita emissions – and therefore high total emissions – are the United States, Australia, and Canada. Australia has an average per capita footprint of 17 tonnes, followed by the US at 16.2 tonnes, and Canada at 15.6 tonnes.”
“This is more than 3 times higher than the global average, which in 2017 was 4.8 tonnes per person.”
“Since there is such a strong relationship between income and per capita CO2 emissions, we’d expect this to be the case: that countries with high standards of living would have a high carbon footprint. But what becomes clear is that there can be large differences in per capita emissions, even between countries with similar standards of living. Many countries across Europe, for example, have much lower emissions than the US, Canada or Australia.”
“In fact, some European countries have emissions not far from the global average: In 2017 emissions in Portugal are 5.3 tonnes; 5.5t in France; and 5.8t per person in the UK. This is also much lower than some of their neighbours with similar standards of living, such as Germany, the Netherlands, or Belgium.”
“Prosperity is a primary driver of CO2 emissions, but clearly policy and technological choices make a difference.”
That's way, way more than recommended for each of us if we want to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050
Source: Our World in Data (Reuse Freely)
How does C2Zero work out how much carbon there is in products, goods and services?
Neutral is not enough. The C2Zero mark means that we have locked away at the very least carbon equivalent to its footprint. But we realise that this is not good enough so we try to lock away more. We fully understand that this comes at a cost, so unless the underlying product is of sufficient value to include a supersized amount of carbon (like our one tonne T-Shirts), we must work within a reasonable limit. Still, we try to be generous when it comes to allocating carbon.
Calculating carbon footprints is complex. There are many organisations which specialise in calculating carbon footprints and can do it much better than we can. When we work with a partner to assign an amount of carbon, we use many of these sources to calculate carbon footprints. Often the numbers we get vary.
We are lucky. C2Zero is additive. We are not working with organisations to offset their emissions or carbon footprint. If we were, we would be looking to do this at the lowest possible cost. That would mean using the lowest acceptable carbon footprint (from an accredited source) and finding acceptable offsets at an acceptable price.
Instead, we operate with emissions allowances. These are expensive compared to most carbon credits from offsets. Sometimes, they are orders of magnitude more expensive. They reflect the “real” cost of carbon and are directly linked to gas emissions. When we assign a quantity of carbon to a token, we regard C2Zero as a blunt instrument. That does not mean we are rough or crude. Rather, we do the numbers from multiple well-regarded calculators and we round up. If the numbers are 6,7 and 8, we will use 9 or 10 as a minimum. If we can get away with it, we will use 100 or 1,000.
And that’s it!
What does the C2Zero mark mean if it’s on products and services?
C2Zero is the brandmark to look for and to always consider when purchasing as it brings emission (CO2) reduction into your everyday life without you having to change your habits. You know that when you see the C2Zero mark that the companies and brands that display C2Zero are stopping big polluters from releasing C02 into the earth’s atmosphere, forever!
What is a good book to read to learn more?
There are many. A favourite is “How Bad are Bananas” by Mike Berners Lee (Profile Books 2020). It is full of interesting facts and also useful information on carbon footprints and how to minimise ones impact.“Dr Karl’s Little Book of Climate Change Science” by Karl Kruszelnicki (ABC Books), is easy to read and full of fun facts.
As we read more, we will add to this list. We are happy to hear your suggestions too.
What else makes a difference?
We’re in a race against time to limit global warming, so anything you can do to reduce your carbon footprint will have an impact. Anything from making more sustainable lifestyle choices such as eating less meat to choosing more sustainable forms of energy.
How do I record and track my CO2 elimination?
Scan the C2Zero token to see and record your personal contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.
Share to social media and display on leader boards your recent purchases and the good you are doing.
Keep track of all your purchases and your lifetime CO2 eliminated.
What is ESG?
ESG means using Environmental, Social and Governance factors to evaluate companies and countries on how far advanced they are with sustainability. Once enough data has been acquired on these three metrics, they can be integrated into the investment process when making investment decisions.
What is CO2e?
Carbon Dioxide equivalent. This term is used when measuring greenhouse emissions. Whatever the source of emission, it is expressed as an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. For example, emitting one tonne of methane is equivalent (in greenhouse terms) to emitting 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide or 25 tonnes CO2e.
Here’s a quick history lesson. In 1895 the pharmaceutical giant Bayer released an over-the-counter drug designed to stop people using the addictive, morphine-based alternatives. It was named heroin. And it worked, big time. I obviously don’t need to tell you what happened next, but needless to say, the solution was far worse than the problem.
Fast forward more than 100 years, and we are faced with the heroin of our time – Carbon Neutral. Something designed to get us off our addiction to pollution. On paper, Carbon Neutral sounds great. We’re not doing any more damage to the environment, so surely it can’t get any worse right? Well, to properly understand the problem with Carbon Neutral, we have to understand the emissions gap.
The ‘emissions gap’ is the scary difference between where Carbon Neutral policy gets us and where we need to be to keep global warming within sustainable levels. You’ve never heard of it because no one likes to talk about it. Even with all the Carbon Neutral pledges and targets made by governments and companies today, global temperatures will still rise by 2.4°C by the year 2100. And a temperature rise like this presents us with huge problems.
But potentially an even bigger problem than Carbon Neutral’s ineffectiveness is that everybody can get on board with it. Carbon Neutral sounds like you’re doing the right thing. Nobody ever gets mad when someone says they’re going Carbon Neutral. Often, they’re applauded for it. It goes down well in meetings and in big-budget, look-at-me adverts showing off how eco-friendly a company might be. People see Carbon Neutral and they think it’s good enough.
But good enough is not enough.
To keep global warming at sustainable levels (1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels - which arguably may still be too much) we need to go beyond neutral. And as much as I’m a huge fan of keep cups and reusable bags, these alone aren’t going to make the difference we need. The buck has to stop with companies. They’re the ones doing the vast majority of polluting. So much so that just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. That’s unfathomable.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. There is an answer, and it’s been in our pockets all along. It’s our wallets. We need to support companies that go beyond neutral and break up with those who don’t. Shopping at companies that pledge to go beyond neutral is the easiest and most effective way to make a difference. If we continue to give our money to companies who keep polluting, there’s no incentive for change. And looking at the temperature rise numbers, no change equals no future.
Much like heroin, Carbon Neutral will be looked back upon as a naive mistake. But hopefully a mistake we can stop before it does too much damage.
The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view(s) of C2Zero or any other party or parties.