The next step is to select an emission-reducing project. Different companies provide different project options, but all projects must be independently verified. SACE selected the Wright Family Dairy Methane Capture Project. Located in Baxley, Georgia, the Wright Family Dairy could collect an estimated 4,770 metric tons of CO2 equivalent (227 tons methane) per year; 47,700 tCO2e over ten years. The project is verified based on actual methane collected by SES, Inc., Merriam, KS and registered with the Chicago Climate Exchange.
The farm utilizes a plug flow anaerobic digester for manure digestion and methane collection. Electrical power generation is created from the biogas fuel and used to run the farm. A biogas flare is utilized to capture and combust any surplus biogas. The system is engineered to capture manure for up to 1,000 head of cattle a year.
Criticisms of Carbon Offsets
The carbon offsetting process is not without its own challenges. The question of additionality or “Would the emissions reducing project have happened anyway?” is one of the most common issues debated in the offset market. Some critics also claim that carbon offsetting allows the perpetuation of unsustainable lifestyles and also raise concerns over the quality standards of the offset market. The Carbon Offsets Research & Education Initiative is a non-partisan source of information for consumers with questions about carbon offsets.
Despite these criticisms, the carbon market is growing and has allowed SACE to contribute to climate protection through real, additional, and verifiable emissions reductions. Through this process, SACE not only offset our emissions, but also learned through our carbon audit where the majority of our emissions are coming from. With this knowledge, SACE is able to make adjustments this year that will lower our overall emissions in 2010 and reduce the total amount of carbon to offset in the future.
Dr. Stephen A. Smith has 30 years of experience affecting change for the environment. Since 1993, Dr. Smith has led the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) as its executive…
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