For every ton of CO2e that is offset with a carbon credit, another ton of CO2e remains unabated within that company’s value chain. Reaching net-zero emissions globally requires all sources of emissions to be eliminated or neutralized with an equivalent amount of negative emissions. Therefore, this strategy is not consistent with reaching net-zero emissions at the planetary level.
With this strategy, emissions in a company’s value chain are reduced at a rate that is not aligned with Paris aligned emissions trajectory, but the company claims that the products or services it sells result in a reduction or avoidance of emissions outside of the company’s value chain at an amount equivalent to the company’s unabated value chain emissions.
In this strategy, value chain emissions are reduced at a scale that falls short of what can be considered Paris aligned & unmitigated emissions are balanced by CO2e removal & sequestration. CO2e removal is considered to involve higher risks than reducing GHG emissions for a number of reasons including technical feasibility, earth system feedbacks, and risk of ineffective sequestration (SBTi).
Emissions abatement corresponds to measures that prevent the release of GHGs into the atmosphere by reducing or eliminating sources of emissions associated with the operations of a company and its value chain.Reducing or eliminating sources of emissions within a company’s value chain mitigates the impact of the company on the climate, and the climate-related risks to which the company is exposed.
In addition to emissions abatement consistent with the Paris Agreement, the company contributes to accelerating society’s net zero transition beyond its value chain e.g. by compensating all emissions released into the atmosphere while the company transitions towards a state of net-zero emissions.
A climate positive strategy provides an opportunity for companies to contribute not only to closing the emissions gap, but also to closing the climate finance gap; and it is an avenue to evolve from an approach that “does no harm” to one that does good.