Carbon Credit Generation

Carbon credits can be explained as ‘a certificate representing a reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.’ One carbon credit is the equivalent of saving one tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2). These credits are generated by any number of projects that prevent or remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

These credits can be sold on to other businesses and individuals to ‘offset’ their own carbon emission generation. In turn, carbon credits are then used to fund environmental projects that will further reduce CO2 emissions.

Such projects include:

Renewable Energy

Using renewable sources like wind farming and hydro-electricity can significantly reduce GHG emissions – or Green House Gases – whilst generating carbon credits. Many companies choose to purchase this type of credit as they provide power whilst reducing emissions.

Afforestation and Reforestation

Forests are a particularly valuable source of carbon reduction as they absorb GHGs. Afforestation refers to the planting of trees in areas that have not previously held forests. Reforestation concerns restocking depleted forests and woodland areas. Such projects are additionally beneficial to the environment as they protect the natural habitat of many species of woodland or rainforest animals and wildlife.

GHG Capture, Reuse and Disposal

These projects continually seek new and innovative ways to dispose of and manage safely, GHGs such as methane, in an environmentally sound way. Examples of this are methane capture at landfill sites, which is then stored and turned into biogas which can be used for transportation, whilst the CO2 can be separated for use independently, for example in refrigerators.


Changing agricultural techniques to a more environmentally friendly method can significantly reduce emissions. Carbon sequestration is the process that agricultural and forestry practices use to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Sequestration slows the rate of climate change by enhancing carbon storage in trees and soils, preserving existing tree and soil carbon and reducing emissions of the greenhouses gases carbon dioxide or CO2, methane and nitrous oxide.

Farms can sequester carbon and reduce emissions of methane and nitrous oxide in several ways. Conservation tillage, conservation or riparian buffers, grazing land management, reducing the use of synthetic fertilizer, handling manure differently, capturing and burning methane, reducing irrigation and switching to biofuels are just some of the methods used.

Mining and Metal Production

Mining is a significant emitter of greenhouse gases, and as such, mining companies need to know where they fit in the emissions curve. Because of that, many countries are now thinking of introducing ‘Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme’, in order to control Green House Gases (GHGs).
Increased OB throw, (or more accurately reduced handling of overall muckpile volumes by incorporating castblast) can lead to direct reductions in equipment energy consumption and thus GHG emissions.

Improved blasting can also make a significant contribution to reducing the overall intensity of GHG emissions from mines. In this regard, improved coal or ore recoveries can make the largest impact.

Treatment of Wastewater

Carbon credits can be claimed by application of advanced anaerobic processes in wastewater treatment for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. As anaerobic granular systems are capable of handling high organic loadings concomitant with high strength wastewater and short hydraulic retention time, they could render much more carbon credits than other conventional anaerobic systems.

Transport is the only sector of the UK economy in which carbon emissions were higher in 2004 than the baseline year of 1990 and the only sector in which emissions are projected to be higher in 2020 than in 1990.

At present, only the Voluntary Agreement package is fully in operation and delivering significant savings in carbon emissions from transport.  The Powering Future Vehicles Strategy – that by 2012, 10% of all new cars would emit under 100g/km – is so far microscopic. Plans to implement grants to subsidise mass purchase of low emissions vehicles as a measure have been scrapped, so it is yet to be seen what new measures the transport sector will come up with to tackle the problem and manage its emissions.

Manufacturing and Chemical Industries

The chemical industry has been switching from coal to gas powered facilities as an efficient way of reducing CO2 emissions. This fuel switch almost halves the emissions of carbon dioxide due to the lower carbon content of gas.

By capturing the heat from electricity generation and using it in the process, a CHP plant is nearly twice as efficient as the best conventional power plants through power of carbon dioxide.

The chemical industry is also pursuing reductions of nitrous oxide emissions (N2O), which are even more harmful than carbon dioxide when released into the atmosphere. For instance, the industry uses a catalyst which selectively destroys nitrous oxide when it is formed, cutting the amount of emissions in the combustion process by more than 90 per cent.



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