CAC Crowdsourced Climate Implications
Crowdsourced - Carbon Offsets
- Offsets can be purchased and applied to GHG reduction targets.
- Most municipalities want to advance their own GHG reduction targets because of the co-benefits associated with GHG reductions (cost savings, local economic development, air pollution reductions, etc.)
- There is likely to be a gap between GHG reductions achievable by municipalities and net zero targets. Offsets present an opportunity to address that gap.
- There are differences across offsets regarding the credibility of GHG reductions
- Carbon offsets sharing: https://guides.co/g/corporate-energy-managers-community-of-practice/203887
- There is the opportunity to bring offsets costs into municipal GHG reduction business cases.
Carbon Offsets vs. Carbon Credits
- Carbon offset: The purchase of some other entities’ GHG reductions towards your GHG reduction targets
- Carbon credit: The sale of GHG reductions from (in this case, a municipality) to another entity to help them achieve their GHG reductions.
- Once a carbon credit is sold, it can no longer be applied toward the seller’s GHG reduction targets.
- Therefore, if a municipality sells any GHG reductions, they cannot use those reductions towards their targets.
Crowdsourced Climate Implications (Risks/Opportunities)
- Is there a limit of how much offset a municipality can buy?
- Buying offsets may lead to less efforts made towards local climate actions
- Would it be needed to have a carbon budget in order to sell carbon credits?
Preliminary Climate Implications
Decision High-Level Questions:
- Is this decision the only option available to meet the need/hoped-for outcome?
- A municipality can achieve its GHG reduction targets.
- What other issues are we trying to solve?
- Greenhouse gas emissions reductions, air pollution, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, flooding, urban heat islands, etc.
- What consequences could arise from this?
- Municipalities have to purchase these offsets every year – not a long-term solution. However, carbon offsets may be able to address the gap for the most difficult reductions to achieve.
- Does the work align with [municipal] policies related to [the] environment and climate?
- Yes, it aligns with Climate Change Action Plans, the federal government’s GHG reduction targets, the Province’s reduction targets, and municipal GHG reduction targets
Mitigation High-Level Questions:
- How does it support/undermine the Climate Action Mitigation Plan?
- Carbon Offsets would support the Climate Action Mitigation Plan by providing a tool to meet its GHG reduction targets and mitigate climate change
- Have health co-benefits been identified or calculated? (The opportunity to share where mitigation is considered, i.e., the positives.)
- The health co-benefits would include all benefits that result from GHG reduction, including better air quality, less vulnerability to climate-related extreme weather events, and increased resilience to climate change-related climate events.
- For air pollution, where the reductions occur will be important for public health benefits, while where the overall GHG reductions occur is less of a factor.
- What potential consequences could arise from this action? Are we doing more for less?
- Relying on others GHG reductions missing out on the benefits of GHG reductions (energy and cost savings for example).
- Does not implementing the adaptation option increase public health risk?
- It could, if it means that municipalities are not able to meet their GHG reduction targets and so air pollution and extreme weather events become more frequent
- Does this address a legislative/regulatory responsibility?
- No, because no governments have required municipalities to use carbon offsets.
Adaptation High-Level Questions:
- How does it support/undermine the Climate Action Adaptation Plan?
- Carbon Offsets are more of a mitigation tool