The UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Wednesday, August 29, 2018 announced the relaunch of its Online Platform for Voluntary Cancellation of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), where organisations, governments, businesses and citizens alike can purchase carbon offsets vetted by the United Nations to compensate for their greenhouse gas emissions.
The e-commerce platform, according to the UN climate body, has gained in simplicity, user friendliness and usability, and is accessible in English and French with a Spanish version to follow later in the year.
“Along with clearer visual explanations and multimedia material on the meaning and benefits of offsetting, the central improvement consists of a new climate footprint calculator to estimate greenhouse gas emissions of households. This tool has evolved thanks to an efficient background data processing system and benefits from a brand-new smart design, making it easy for everyone to use,” the UNFCCC disclosed in a statement.
Arthur Rolle, Chair of the Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board, said: “The platform is enjoying increasing popularity at the global level. Since its initial launch in 2015, over 2,500 transactions resulted in over 300,000 tonnes of CO2 (i.e. 300,000 CERs) being cancelled. I hope that this upgrade will motivate even more users, individuals and businesses to take the climate action we urgently need. And we hope to become an even more attractive partner for peer organizations and initiatives who also promote urgent climate action and who wish to collaborate with us.”
The carbon credits come from projects registered under the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Under the CDM, projects in developing countries earn a saleable credit for each tonne of greenhouse gas they reduce or avoid. 8,100 projects and programmes in 111 countries range from clean cookstoves and water purification to wind power and large industrial gases projects.
In addition to being green and climate-friendly, these activities make a real difference as they bring sustainable development benefits to local communities, such as improved air and water quality, improved income, improved health, reduced energy consumption and much more. The purchase of CERs also contributes to the continuation of the projects and hence of these benefits, which underlines the importance of a well-functioning and user-friendly web platform.
The platform is said to function the same way it used to: the entire contributions users make while offsetting emissions go directly to the project owners, without any commission taken or fee added by the United Nations. This direct payment method is unique and is part of the identity of this platform: The United Nations facilitate the process without intervening in it.