Compensation: what it is and how it can be done

Phoresta / CO2 compensation  / Compensation: what it is and how it can be done

On November 29th, the personal exhibition of Denis Riva, entitled Memorandum, was inaugurated at the Gilda Contemporary Art Gallery in Milan. The exhibition – curated by Cristina Giulia Artese and Alessandra Redaelli – was introduced by Cristina Giulia Artese. Afterwards, our President Carlo Manicardi briefly introduced Phoresta recalling that the association promotes ecosystem services, compensation of CO2 emissions and the circular economy. He then explained the compensation mechanism in a clear and easy way. Here goes a summary of his speech.

CARBON CYCLE, CLIMATE CHANGE

The use of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) to produce electricity and thermal power, to move vehicles, to run hospitals and schools, to produce ALL kinds of goods, food and services, releases CO2, methane, sulphides and nitrates (the so-called Greenhouse Gases) in the atmosphere, where they remain for at least 1000 years.

THE MAIN EFFECTS OF GREENHOUSE GASES ARE TWO:

 

1 ° Absorb heat (infra-red rays) released from the earth surface. When the atmospheric concentration  of greenhouse gases increases, the earth warms up by capturing more of this heat.

2 ° Alter the natural carbon cycle (carbon, not carbon dioxide!!)

Human beings can live on the planet thanks to the carbon cycle. Both oceans and earth store carbon for decades and release it into the atmosphere. In some thousand years, the oceans, the earth and the plants EXCHANGE the carbon in billions of chemical and biological processes.

CO2 from fossil fuels altered the balance of the carbon cycle, because the natural processes that can restore the equilibrium are too slow in comparison with the pace at which human activities release CO2 in the atmosphere.

TREES AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES

 

Trees absorb CO2 and through the photosynthesis process, retain Carbon and release Oxygen.

Trees are living beings that produce oxygen: this is then distributed throughout the planet by the wind; therefore it does’nt matter where they are planted or where actions to preserve them are taken.

Trees are living beings that transform sunlight into organic matter, sugar, which is then used to produce wood, leaves, flowers and fruits. No other machine or technology or process is able to generate life, thus food and oxygen, starting from a non-material element such as sunlight.

Ecosystems are made of plants, animals and micro-organisms. They are our suppliers of ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: all the things that nature does and will continue to do if it is not altered or destroyed.

Ecosystems are UNIQUE suppliers: it is difficult to find another supplier that give us rain, oxygen, that stores methane and CO2, that works every day for free !! Ecosystems should be left to work in peace, because they are non-replaceable suppliers of our biological and economic life.

At the end we’d like to mention an action that you can, indeed you must take to mitigate your CO2  emissions, as Gilda Gallery did. Compensation of CO2 emissions represents a concrete contri bution to the reduction of the concentration of greenhouse gases. It is a scientifically valid and economically inexpensive mechanism. Let’s see it.

1) First, I can calculate the total annual CO2 emissions of the place where I live or work, using my electricity and heat bills. I can use the calculator at www.phoresta.org/partecipa or ask directly info@phoresta.org  

2) Then, I have to calculate the total km I travel / year by car, train or flights. Also for this calculation I can use the aforementioned web-sites

NOW I can choose a new forestry project, such as the forest that Phoresta is planting nearby Bologna, or a project for the promotion of ecosystem services, like the agreement between Phoresta and the Valle del Treja Regional Park  that absorbs CO2 and therefore generates carbon credits.

Then I’ll have to pay about 30 euro / ton of my CO2 emissions to forestry projects or about 6 euro / ton to ecosystem service projects.

In this way, my emissions of CO2 in the atmosphere are absorbed by the projects I finance, for the duration of the compensation agreement.