There are different types of projects that can compensate for CO2-emissions. Some projects invest in emission reductions through the increased use of renewable energy sources, others remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere through reforestation and still others avoid the emission of greenhouse gases in industrial processes. The projects also differ in scope. There are smaller projects that take place at the community level, and larger ones that can cover a whole industrial complex. The different types of projects have different advantages and disadvantages, with regard to their potential for greenhouse gas reduction, but also with regard to the side effects which they cause, for example. on biodiversity or the employment situation in the region. Carbon offset projects must meet internationally recognized criteria and standards and be certified accordingly.
The most important criteria are the following:
Additionality: It must be ensured that a project can only be implemented on the basis of the funds generated by emissions trading. The carbon offset project must therefore rely on revenues from emissions trading to cover the financing needs.
Exclusion of double counting: It must be ensured that the CO2-emissions saved are credited only once (to the holders of the certificates). This means in particular that certificates may only be sold once.
Durability: Emission savings must be permanent, e.g. The binding of CO2 in forests must be long-term.
Regular third-party verification: Carbon offset projects must be periodically audited by independent third parties (for example, TÜV, SGS, DNV) in all of the above criteria.