Verified Offsets in the Political Campaign Mix!

Last night, four of Canada’s federal party leaders vying to lead the country for the next four years participated in a French-language debate. A series of topics were covered, including climate change. In response to assertions that the Liberal party is a “fraud” on climate action due to its use of several aircraft on the campaign trail, the Liberal Party stated that it purchased carbon offset credits to compensate for the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated from the party’s aircraft and ground transportation.
The party states that its purchases come from Bullfrog Power and its subsidiary, Less Emissions. Further research completed by Brightspot confirms that Less Emissions sells carbon offsets from five projects located both domestically and internationally. We were pleased to discover that we were the third-party verifier for one of the two Canadian projects: the Essex-Windsor Regional Landfill Gas Capture and Destruction Project.
Offset projects are generally associated with improved technology or practices. The Essex-Windsor project is designed to capture and flare landfill gas, which is composed mainly of methane. By flaring the gas instead of venting it to the atmosphere, the climate impact of the landfill is significantly reduced. The purchase of these carbon offset credits ensures that similar projects are designed and created specifically to reduce GHG emissions.
Offset projects must meet the following criteria:
Additionality: GHG reductions must be developed in projects that would not have happened without the incentive of carbon offsets.
Quantifiable and Measurable: Emission reductions must be reviewed by an independent verifier that confirms through internationally recognized (i.e., ISO) standards the methods and data used to calculate and support the emission reduction. See here for more information on the Essex-Windsor project, including our verification report.
No Leakage: Project implementation must not result in an increase in emissions elsewhere.
Carbon offsets are an important tool to help reduce GHG emissions worldwide. It is often very difficult to achieve zero-emission lifestyles or operations. At Brightspot, we offset our own business emissions and post the reports publicly on our website. We encourage all other organizations to do the same. Carbon offsets help fill in the short-term emissions reduction gap as we work toward a low-carbon economy.

About the Author

Sheldon Fernandes