For the global climate, it does not matter where greenhouse gases are reduced. Every reduction benefits the global climate as a whole. Unavoidable emissions can therefore be compensated elsewhere – for example in certified climate protection projects. If a buyer is prepared to pay a price for the resulting emission reductions, this approach can provide an incentive for investments, e.g. create climate-friendly technologies or reforestation projects.
Various carbon markets and climate protection programs use this approach, especially to involve the private sector as an investor. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) proved to be extremely successful in the years 2005 – 2012, when the EU Emissions Trading System accepted certificates to offset emissions from its EU member states industrial facilities.
CORSIA is an instrument designed to compensate for emissions from global aviation. Starting in 2020, emission reduction projects within the scope of CORSIA aim to neutralize the growth of CO2 emissions from aviation.
With the recognition of so-called upstream emission reductions, the European Fuel Quality Directive specifically targets the fuel trading sector as an investor in emission reduction projects. These must be upstream of the refineries, and usually concern energy efficiency projects in terms of oil production or the prevention of flaring of natural gas in the oil fields.
Another demand for emission reduction certificates can be found in the voluntary market. This allows organisations to promote itself or its products to the general public or particular customer groups by demonstrating carbon neutrality and highlighting its climate policy commitments. Companies calculate the emissions arising from their activities or associated with particular products and offset these by purchasing and retiring emission certificates. A number of special carbon offsetting standards are used, tailored to particular situations.