From offsetting to “climate responsibility”?
Some voices have proposed a new concept as a possible alternative to offsetting and called this concept “climate responsibility”. In contrast to carbon offsetting, where the emissions caused are balanced, the concept of climate responsibility proffers a budget to finance climate protection innovations, breakthrough technologies and the transformation to a zero-emission society. Unlike offsetting, this climate responsibility budget is not based on current prices for carbon offsets, but on a significantly higher CO₂ price. The higher CO₂ price also makes one’s own mitigation options more attractive, which in turn contributes to emission reductions.
To calculate the climate responsibility budget, a CO₂ price can be used that would actually be required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement or to bring new technologies to market. The “High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices”, led by Nobel Laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern, recommended in 2017, based on a broad literature review, that a CO₂ price of US$40-80 per ton of CO₂ equivalent in 2020, rising to US$50-100 by 2030, is consistent with the Paris Agreement target. Converted into Euro, this price would be approx. €34-68 per ton of CO₂ equivalent in 2020 or €43-85 per ton of CO₂ equivalent in 2030. In contrast, carbon offset credits currently cost between €0.50 and €23, depending on the provider, offset program and climate protection project.
How can climate responsibility work in practice? Here are approaches of different organizations: