According to the UNFCCC Secretariat, ‘offsetting is a climate action that enables individuals and organizations to compensate for the emissions they cannot avoid, by supporting worthy projects that reduce emissions somewhere else’. To limit its environmental impact, UNITAR, which hosts the Secretariat of UN CC:Learn, has offset its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the year 2017 through the United Nations Carbon Offset Platform.
This platform showcases a range of initiatives that reduce, avoid or remove GHG emissions from the atmosphere. Currently, 16 projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1 project in Africa, 1 in Oceania and 27 in Asia are presented. All projects are executed at national or local levels in developing countries and help these countries to meet their goals of promoting sustainable development. Positive impacts can be achieved in the area of environmental protection, through better air and water quality and increased soil fertility, as well as social protection, for instance enhancing gender equality, health services, education, and job creation. The projects can also contribute to advancing local economic growth and promoting sustainable energy.
UN CC:Learn has selected the following two projects developed in Kenya and Brazil where the Secretariat is active through national and global activities:
￼The project will distribute energy efficient cooking stoves to domestic households in rural areas of Kenya. The use of efficient stoves aims to reduce carbon emissions by allowing families to cook the same amount of food using less non-renewable biomass. It will reduce fuel wood consumption and impact positively in several ways. First, it will reduce the use of non-renewable biomass from Kenyan forests and assist the maintenance of existing forest stock. Second, the amount of indoor air pollutants from the burning of biomass in the home will be reduced. Third, the costs incurred in the purchase of fuel will be reduced through increased thermal efficiency.
The project reduces emissions through the development of electricity from a renewable source, the small hydropower plant on the Santana riverbank in the State of Mato Grosso. The project activities reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by avoiding thermoelectric plant operations that use fossil fuels as an energy source. This project has already impacted the region positively in several areas, for example, it has avoided soil erosion and improved the soil quality, protected depletable natural resources, created new job opportunities and improved local living conditions.
Offsetting GHG emissions play an important role in progressively replacing the use of polluting technologies and advancing environmentally sustainable solutions. Through the selected projects, the UN CC:Learn Secretariat contributes to the objectives of the Paris Agreement, which limits the rise of global temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius.