Story highlights With only a handful of greenhouse gas emissions per ton of carbon, this can be a solid way to sell your emissions credits.
Carbon offsets are often linked to deforestation and waste, and that could cost you.
Most of us have our fill of pumpkins and cherries, and no, we’re not talking about a holiday event. But, it turns out, there’s a certain blossom you should avoid at any given time of year. It’s called chamomile, and as the flowers are delicious in their own right, they’re also considered a potent source of some of the world’s most powerful greenhouse gases, reports The Observer, as they emit 17.6 tons of carbon dioxide.
Instead of simply looking to eat less of these flowers, though, this means you can sell your offsets. Carbon offset credits, also called biofuels, are places where emissions come from a specific plant-based source. The whole business is a lot like growing your own food in your garden. If you plant, say, a row of broccoli and you want to earn some money from that vegetable harvest, your carbon footprint stays the same. But if you buy a carbon offset, you make money by offloading your carbon from an emissions-dense energy source (like a coal plant) to an emissions-futile one (like a chamomile plant).
Carbon offsets have taken off over the past few years, notes MarketWatch, and that’s even with only a handful of greenhouse gas emissions per ton of carbon. In fact, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry. MarketWatch estimates that the global biofuels market is worth about $18 billion. New research from the Global Environmental Facility, says this industry will grow to be worth $54 billion by 2030.
Even so, many consumers have concerns about the carbon offsets. They’re often linked to deforestation and waste, and that’s something many consumers are wary of, especially as the carbon market has increased.
Many farmers are interested in selling their offsets, too. Even here in the United States, where the climate is changing at a rapid pace, you can expect to see more farmers looking to offset their footprint by selling their carbon credits.
For example, after the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, there’s been an “unprecedented surge in investment in carbon credits,” explains the nonprofit Ceres, in a release earlier this year. And, that’s not just in the renewable energy industry.
Carbon offsets are often partnered with some sort of emissions credits, as well. “So far this year, the number of greenhouse gas emissions reductions under carbon finance in China has nearly tripled, up from 1.8 million to 4.6 million tons,” writes Climate Atlas in an online post about farmers using carbon offsets. The greatest use is right now in the United States, where there’s now over 4 million tons in carbon offsets. Over 200 farmers are invested, and some investors have spent more than $2 billion.
The number of farmers interested in this market is growing, but the not-so-small problem is when people learn that they can purchase offsets, they’re often suspicious. To let consumers know that their offsets will not impact deforestation or overfishing, certified Carbon Farming Initiative producers say that offsets obtained from Certified Forest Carbon companies “allow conservation and land management of protected land to continue along with sustainable harvest values,” and that “use of any land in certified forest carbon projects is not authorized or likely to lead to conversion of forest lands.”