Combatting Species Extinction with Carbon Offsets

By Alyssa Bueno

Recently, a United Nation report found that 1,000,000 species are facing imminent extinction due to climate change. The report also finds that humans are responsible for significantly altering 75% of the land environment and 66% of the marine environment.

The Problem

The fact that humans are responsible for wiping out entire species of plants, animals, and insects, should hit close to home. Confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s fourth assessment of the science of climate change, its impacts and possible solutions, the panel of 2,500 scientists and other experts declared manmade global warming “unequivocal”.

And human productivity is still growing. In fact, there has been a 300% increase in food crop production since the 1970s and one-third of the planet is devoted to agriculture. In addition to changing our terrestrial space, we are also adding enormous amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere through burning of fossil fuels. We have already surpassed the previous 350 ppm threshold for carbon dioxide, and we are on track to exceed the danger zone of 450 ppm. In this context, the 2020 UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, are likely to be missed.

Species extinction is a strong signal and we need to take it seriously. If not for planet earth, then for ourselves because we depend heavily on ecosystem services provided by even the smallest creatures. Butterflies and bees pollinate over 75% of our food and plants create the very molecule we need to breathe.

Although we aren’t feeling devastating consequences yet, the climate is palpably changing and we still have the opportunity to remedy the situation.

The Obstacles & The Solution

Often times, we can feel overwhelmed by this massive problem. Or we feel disconnected because we live in urban areas far away from the magnificent animals we see in nature documentaries. However there is a way for us to measure each contribution we make to ease climate change impacts within our capacity.

The solution is carbon offsets. It directly links to carbon emissions reduction, which is the biggest cause of the climate crisis.

Successfully Supporting Species

Carbon offset projects are generally seen as ways to reduce CO2. However, carbon offset projects have a multitude of co-benefits that add to the wellbeing of our environment, society, and future generations. Carbon Credit Capital only chooses projects that certified under globally recognized standards and are focused around accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals. For example, our Gold Standard ADPML project in Brazil fulfills six of the 17 SDGs. By ensuring rainforest conservation, this project contributes to the following:

  • Good Health and Well-being (3)
  • Affordable and Clean Energy (7)
  • Reduced Inequalities (10)
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities (11)
  • Climate Action (13)
  • Life on Land (15)

By helping fund ADPML:
“Your support will enhance ecosystem functionality by allowing the regeneration of degraded forests; preventing on-going deforestation in the area, and protecting endangered plants and over 30 vulnerable species, including the giant anteater and the black-handed tamarind.”

The BaumInvest Mixed Reforestation project in Costa Rica provides ecological and socio-economic benefits for the local community. It contributes to the SDGs: Work + Economic Growth, Climate Action, and Life on Land. The project takes previously degraded land and uses it for a mix of agroforestry, as well as cultivates it as a forest reserve for native species. The Baird’s Tapir, Jaguar, and Great Green Macaw – all animals listed as threatened species – have been sighted on this preserve. Biodiversity monitoring is an integral part of this project to study the current state of populations and improve best practices. The goal of this project is to support local economy and prevent deforestation while providing healthy habitats for species to thrive.

Essentially, all of us can make a difference that directly impacts biodiversity. We can actively support projects that decrease deforestation and recoup the negative effects of economic externalities. All in all, current carbon pricing systems represent nearly 20% of global emissions in addition to their co-benefits. Funding and supporting their important work will allow projects to thrive and expand their current efforts. By voting with our actions and our dollar, we can truly make a difference.