Every one of us impacts the earth and its resources—and we all have a role to play to help slow the effects of global warming and protect the planet for future generations.

Reducing and offsetting carbon emissions (or greenhouse gas emissions) is one of the most powerful ways we can make a difference and do our part to help stop global warming.

According to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Report 2012, we all need to act now to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global warming, pollute the air and threaten vital eco-systems.

What is Global Warming?

Global warming is the increase of Earth’s average surface temperature due to the effect of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels or from deforestation, which trap heat that would otherwise escape from Earth. This is a type of greenhouse effect.

Where do carbon emissions come from?

Carbon emissions are caused every time we burn fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil, and coal to produce energy. Turn on your washing machine and you are using energy, which creates carbon emissions. Wash in hot water and you’ll create even more carbon pollution.

Nearly every action we take during an average day—from talking on our mobile phones to driving cars and taking public transit—creates carbon emissions. In fact, reading just one email creates an estimated 4 grams of carbon pollution!

How are carbon emissions measured?

The amount of carbon pollution you create is referred to as your carbon footprint. Generally, carbon is measured in tonnes or pounds so your carbon footprint represents an estimate of how many tonnes/pounds of carbon emissions you create in a given period, usually a year.

The average person creates 48,488 pounds of carbon every year: that’s a lot. And every tonne of carbon created accelerates the impacts of climate change.

What about other greenhouse gases?

Other greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide are produced most often from agricultural activity and raising livestock. Manufacturing creates greenhouse gases, as does construction, and deforestation. Trees play a critical role in absorbing carbon dioxide. Fewer forest means larger amounts of GHGs entering the atmosphere – and increased speed and severity of global warming. Even discarding organic food scraps, like apple cores and spoiled foods in landfills, creates greenhouse gas emissions.

While it sounds pretty bleak…there is a positive side to the story.

What can I do to reduce my carbon footprint?

The good news is that there are simple, effective ways to reduce and even neutralize your carbon footprint to lead a greener, cleaner lifestyle that will go a long way to help save the planet.

It is important to understand how our everyday activities create pollution and contribute to our carbon footprint. You’re off to a great start already, just by learning more about this.
Once you know how much you contribute to the emission problem, you can be proactive to find ways to become more energy efficient in your everyday life. It won’t take long to get yourself on the road to reducing your carbon footprint.
Regardless of your personal efforts to reduce your carbon footprint, it is virtually impossible to eliminate it on your own. That’s where JustGreen LifeStyle comes in. JustGreen LifeStyle has a portfolio of certified carbon offset projects. These projects include renewable energy production and/or carbon emission reduction projects that reduce the amount of emissions released into the atmosphere. You can purchase carbon credits, otherwise known as carbon offsets from JustGreen to neutralize your carbon footprint, while supporting these environmentally friendly projects at the same time. This process helps to balance out your carbon emissions towards carbon neutrality.

“Once you know how much you contribute to the emission problem, you can be proactive to find ways to become more energy efficient in your everyday life.”

Skeptical? 10 tough questions about carbon offsets answered.

The Suzuki Foundation says you should ask these 10 tough questions before you buy carbon offsets. Here’s how JustGreen stacks up.

What are the specific offset projects in your portfolio and where are the carbon offset projects located?
JustGreen is proud to support green projects across North America that are all dedicated to building a greener world for future generations. Our projects include wind, solar, large and light hydro, ozone-depleting substances, ethanol, and nitrous oxide projects—and we are one of a few companies that gives you the choice to allocate your offsets to support the projects you believe in most.  All the projects and associated offsets are located in the United States and Canada and are listed on either the Climate Action Reserve (CAR), Voluntary Carbon Standard Registry (VCS), Canadian Standards Association’s GHG CleanProjects Registry, or the Markit Environmental Registry. All of the projects’ offsets are also verified by independent third parties to ensure compliance with the respective CAR, VCS, or ISO-14064 methodologies. All of the verifier documents can be found in the associated project description of the respective registries. Browse through our project portfolio.
Have your carbon offsets been certified to a recognized standard to ensure quality?
Absolutely. All of the offsets in JustGreen’s portfolio can be tracked on the four registries mentioned above (CAR, VCS, CSA, Markit), which allows for transparency and serves as a safeguard against double-counting. To ensure quality and to be listed on these registries, the projects have to undergo a verification process by an independent, third party verifier to ensure the project and the offsets produced comply with the respective methodology.
What steps have you taken to ensure that the carbon offsets you are selling are additional?
JustGreen strives to procure offsets from projects that depend on the incremental revenue stream from the sale of carbon offsets and projects verified under newer methodologies and operational dates. We track every JustGreen Lifestyle carbon offset sold, to allocate and retire each and every one. An example of a newer technology project is the Refrigerant Management Canada Ozone-Depleting Substances Destruction Project in Alberta, Canada. This project is verified under an adapted CSA ODS methodology for Canadian projects and is listed on the CSA GHG CleanProjects registry. It produces offsets from the collection and destruction of CFCs and HFCs from stationary refrigeration and air conditioning sources in Canada. You can read more here.
How do you ensure that the greenhouse gas reductions that your carbon offsets represent were quantified accurately?
All of the calculations and methodologies used to quantify projects’ carbon offsets production are documented by the independent third party verifier and reviewed by the respective registry before the project and offsets are accepted and listed on the registry. The quantification and verification documents from third party verifiers can be found on each project description page of the respective registries. Browse through our project portfolio.
Are 100% of your offsets validated and verified by accredited third-party auditors?
Yes. All of our offsets are listed on either the CAR, VCS, CSA GHG CleanProjects, or Markit registries and are verified by independent and accredited third party verifiers to ensure compliance with CAR, VCS, and ISO-140464 methodologies.
If you are selling offsets that will be created in the future, what mechanisms (insurance or otherwise) have you put in place to ensure those offsets will actually be delivered?
JustGreen’s carbon portfolio does include wholesale forward contracts for offsets that will be created in the future. To protect against under-performance of sellers and force-majeure events, JustGreen only enters into bilateral agreements with credit-worthy (investment grade counterparties) or demands credit assurances otherwise. These mechanisms include language for liquidated damages in the event of a seller default, buyer’s ability to call letters of credit based on mark-to-market value of the undelivered offsets, and parental guarantees from a credit-worthy (investment grade) parent company or bank.
What percentage of your portfolio (by tonnes of C02e) is made up of offsets from tree planting or agricultural soils projects? If it is a significant percentage (more than 20% of your portfolio) how do you attempt to address permanence risks?
To date, none of JustGreen’s projects include offsets from tree planting or agricultural soils projects. Therefore there aren’t any risks of this nature to address.
Do you use a publicly accessible registry to track and retire your offsets? Please list the website.
Yes. JustGreen believes that the more information we share about how carbon offsets are helping to build a greener future, the more people will want to do their part and reduce and offset their carbon footprint. All of JustGreen’s offsets are tracked and retired on CAR, VCS, CSA GHG CleanProjects, or Markit registries. You’ll find a full listing of our offsets here.
What is your organization doing to educate consumers about climate change and the need for government policy to deal with it?
At Just Energy, through our JustGreen initiative, we help reduce their carbon footprint and achieve a sustainable lifestyle. From our processes and standards to the services offered, we look to create cleaner, greener communities across North America. We educate through our available channels such as our website and sales teams.We also participate in key green consumer shows to deliver the green message and tips on how to sustain our planet i.e., Green Living show, Live Green Festival, as well as partner with credible associations to help further the common message i.e., Earth Day Canada and Earth Rangers.As we continue to grow and reach more North Americans, we will endeavour to incorporate various means to educate consumers about climate change, its impact and what we can do to help as a collective.
Are you a member of the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance, which has a Code of Best Practice that members must adhere to?
JustGreen by Just Energy is not currently a member, however, we are in the process of evaluating the enrollment process and will be able to report back as soon as possible. Read more about the code here.