Carbon Credits: (From jatropha.org.za).
(You will find lots of research and articles regarding this subject on this page)
This is a very in depth topic but I'll do my best to provide a simple explanation. As I understand it, it all started with global warming and amongst other things, countries in remote parts of the world cutting down pristine forest to sell wood and cultivate food crops. The world was shocked but these countries complained that the West have factories with global reach, emitting thousands of tons of harmful gasses on a daily basis, making millions of dollars while they on the other hand had to retain their forests in poverty while providing clean oxygen.
The world acknowledged this, got together in a place called Kyoto in Japan and came up with the idea of Carbon Credits under a plan referred to as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This plan aimed to promote sustainable development in developing countries as well as to help industrialized countries (Annex I Parties) to achieve compliance with their Carbon Emission Reduction (CER). Industrialized countries could thus invest in emission-saving projects in developing countries and gain credit for the savings achieved through the generation of Carbon Emission Credits so that they could comply and contribute to their own emission reduction targets.
It was therefore decided that if a country produced more Carbon Dioxide (CO2) than it could absorb, it would be required to purchase absorption ability from another using Carbon Credits as the currency. In other words a ‘forest country ‘ could sell off large quantities of emission reductions (Green House Gas Offsets or Carbon Credits) to an ‘offending country’ towards the purpose of neutralizing planet warming carbon dioxide emissions of the world as a whole.
Carbon Credits or Green House Gas Offsets may thus be referred to as marketable Certificates that represent reductions in gases that contribute to the warming of the atmosphere.
One Carbon Credit is equal to 1 Ton of Carbon Dioxide. This is referred to as the Carbon Dioxide Equivalent. (CO2e)
Two mature trees generally offset about 1 metric ton
of Carbon Dioxide.
One Carbon Credit is worth between US $10 and US $40 per credit.
Please Note that planting trees will absorb Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere
BUT NOT IF THEY ARE:
1. Cut down – No longer CO2 efficient.
2. Cut down and burnt – This creates CO2
3. Planted and then harvested – The CO2 is not stored within them.
4. Planted and then ploughed – The stored CO2 escapes.
As a matter of interest, less Carbon Credits may need to be purchased by an ‘offending country’ if it can reduce fuel consumption, utilize more efficient methods of power generation, leave forests to stand or plant borders around fields. This is hardly the case with industrialized nations but who knows ‘wonders never cease to exist’
Jatropha is commonly respected as a Carbon Credit generating tree as it recycles 100% of the CO2 emissions produced by burning the biodiesel made from it. It lives for over 50 years producing a renewable, sustainable and clean source of clean energy all the time.
There is only a certain amount of feedstock (raw material) that can be derived locally for making biodiesel. The use of edible crops such as wheat are not an eco friendly biofuel option to fossil fuels. By this I mean if you consider the aforementioned interpretation of Green House Gas Offsets, planting and ploughing wheat to make biodiesel leaves a large carbon footprint and serves only as an alternative to oil from fossil fuels rather than a planet preserving benefit. Besides the bread price becomes linked to the fuel price which could result in the need for bread subsidies to feed the hungry and so on.
Jatropha can be used almost as is to run a diesel engine. Just remember the feedstock and the alcohol used to manufacture biodiesel must be sourced from a renewable source if to be considered truly renewable.
The CO2 emission of Jatropha oil is considered to be almost zero. For this reason, a Jatropha plantation has all the requirements of an energy crop within the CMD and is thus eligible for attracting payment for Carbon Credits.
Note from Jatropha.Pro: Since Jatropha trees are very small, you need about 1600 trees to absorb 1 metric ton of Carbon Dioxide. (1 Jatropha tree absorbs approximately .006MT (14lbs) of CO2 annually.)