Creating real carbon credits comes from the concept of supplementarity within the Kyoto Protocol. Supplementarity means that internal abatement of emissions should take precedence before a country purchases carbon credits. It establishes that countries should develop real, measureable, permanent emissions reductions. There are steps involved in deciding whether or not carbon credits are legitimate. This means making sure that the process through which the carbon credits are submitted are in fact real, measurable, and permanent emissions.
Creating real carbon credits involves the concept of additionality. This refers to a term used by Kyoto’s Clean Development Mechanism, describing the fact that a carbon dioxide reduction project would not have occurred had it not been for concern for the mitigation of climate change. By proving additionality, it proves the legitimacy of the environmental stewardship claim resulting from the retirement of the carbon credit.
Involved with real carbon credits is personal carbon trading. Personal carbon trading has not yet been approved, but may very well help lower carbon usage as well as create small, localized economies. Personal carbon trading is a concept that is along the same lines as carbon offset credits. The concept of carbon trading refers to emissions trading.
It is hoped that personal carbon trading will help lower the amount of emissions by allotting a certain amount of emissions to individuals on an equal per capita basis. The number would be based on national carbon budgets. The credits would be surrendered later when buying fuel or electricity. Any individual who needs or wants more carbon credits would need to trade or purchase additional credits. Not only does this allow for people to get additional credits, it also makes it possible for those who do not need all of their credits, or are voluntarily lowering their carbon emissions, to sell surplus credits. Individual trading under Personal Carbon Trading is similar to the trading companies under the European Union Emission Trading System.
Personal carbon trading is not the same as carbon offsetting. They are very similar in the sense that they pay for emissions allowances, but carbon trading differs in that it is designed to be mandatory so nations are guaranteed domestic carbon emissions targets. There are various carbon proposals. Included are Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs), Personal Carbon Allowances (PCAs), and Tradable Personal Pollution Allowances.
Depending on the personal carbon trading that is chosen, individuals would most likely use electric accounts to control the carbon credits. The account would allow individuals to surrender credits when purchasing electricity, heating fuel, and petroleum. Personal Carbon credits would also be used for public transportation. Those who sell their extra credit would benefit by lowering their carbon footprint, which is of course, the entire point of personal carbon credits.
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