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Offset expenses need to be factored into the cost of activities

With limited resources it is better to offset fewer of your emissions but invest in offset projects that are of high quality.

Incorporating costs for CO2 emission reduction and the purchase of offsets follows the same practice as accounting for other operating expenses. Integrating budgets for offsets from the beginning streamlines the basic planning process and supports activities which encourage efficiencies first.

The new practice of offsetting carbon emissions is a step towards slowing the growth of atmospheric CO2. As there has been little consideration of the atmospheric implications of our fossil fuel use in the past, tying specific offsetting costs to these activities reinforces a causal connection and establishes a direct fiscal responsibility.

Along with the analysis of the impacts from other emission causing activities for individuals and organisations, being aware of the carbon footprint of our activities is the beginning of managing the carbon implications of daily decisions. In the long term, voluntary carbon offsets are expected to be a transient mechanism as low carbon strategies become business as usual in the future (Molitor 2005).

Global Carbon Project: case study

Many carbon emission reductions also produce cost reductions and have already been incorporated in GCP basic operations. Because air travel was confirmed as the greatest single emissions source, new opportunities for significant reductions will have to be found in managing travel. For the Global Carbon Project this highlights complex issues of value for resources, geographic equity in a global community and overcoming barriers to encourage research synthesis.

We found that a scribing responsibility for emissions and so for funding offsets to those financially responsible for the source proved a workable principle. This was grounded in recommendations from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and World Resources Institute.

Molitor M (2005) Carbon Volunteers. Carbon Finance, p 15