Exploring Carbon Offset and Removal: Insights from Duncan Morris and Tom Previte

Area delved into the importance of Carbon Offset and Removal in a recent 'Launch & Learn' session, demonstrating their critical role in addressing the climate crisis.

As part of Area’s ongoing Sustainability Series, the discussion hosted by Duncan Morris, head of sustainability at Fourfront Group, and Tom Previte, commercial Associate at Supercritical, shares various carbon removal methods and its importance for a sustainable future.

Understanding Carbon Emissions

Duncan Morris highlighted the broad scope of carbon emissions, stressing the importance of considering scopes 1, 2, and 3. He emphasised that carbon emissions extend beyond daily operations to include projects undertaken by companies in the construction industry. This comprehensive approach aims to capture a company's entire carbon footprint, exceeding traditional boundaries.

The Role of Carbon Removal

Tom Previte emphasized the need to both reduce emissions and actively extract carbon from the atmosphere. Using the bathtub analogy, he explained that reducing emissions stops the tap, while carbon removal is like pulling the plug, actively removing carbon.

Carbon Removal Vs Offset

Highlighting the difference between carbon removal and traditional offsetting, Previte explains while offsetting often involves paying to prevent CO2 from entering the atmosphere, carbon removal actively extracts CO2. Achieving net zero emissions requires a combination of emissions reduction and high-quality carbon removal, not just offsetting.

Exploring Carbon Removal Methods

The conversation explored a range of removal methods, spanning from natural solutions like tree planting to engineered techniques such as direct air capture. Engineered solutions, although more expensive, offer long lasting and permanent carbon removal. Unlike nature-based options, which while capable of removing CO2, may lack permanence.

Industry Recognition and Standards

Various organisations, such as the UK Green Building Council and the IPCC, emphasise the need for carbon removal in the built environment. Establishing standards for net zero construction underscores the importance of including carbon removal in sustainability strategies.

Expanding the Carbon Removal Industry

The carbon removal industry is still in its early stages and faces scaling challenges. Advanced purchasing, where companies commit to buying carbon removal credits in advance, can support project development. As more companies invest, the industry will expand to meet demand.

Navigating the Path to Sustainability: Key insights From the Session

The ‘Launch & Learn’ session provided valuable insights into carbon removal in tackling the climate crisis. It highlights the necessity of a holistic approach that combines emissions reduction with high-quality carbon removal. As the industry advances, organisations such as Fourfront Group and Supercritical, along with Area are exploring ways to make a meaningful impact on carbon removal to achieve a more sustainable future.

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