FAQ

Climate change & climate protection

What is climate change?

Over the course of millions of years, the global climate has experienced fluctuations. Since the beginning of industrialisation, however, the composition of the atmosphere has changed as a result of greenhouse gas emissions. This global warming caused by human beings intensifies the natural greenhouse effect and is leading to detectable changes to the climate. This global warming also has a significant effect on people and nature.

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What are the effects of climate change?

Climate change destabilises the Earth’s temperature equilibrium and has far-reaching effects on human beings and the environment. During the course of global warming, the energy balance and thus the temperature of the earth change, due to the increased concentration of greenhouse gases, which has a significant impact on humans and the environment.

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Is the climate change caused by humans?

The global warming of the last 50 years is, with over 95% probability, due to humans. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is responsible for evaluating the risks of human-caused climate change and gathering prevention and adjustment strategies. It was established by the United Nations Environmental Organisation (UNEO) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

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What are greenhouse gases?

Greenhouse gases are the gases in the Earth’s atmosphere that produce the greenhouse effect. Most greenhouse gases can have either a natural or an anthropogenic (man-made) source.

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What is the greenhouse effect?

The greenhouse effect is basically a natural process that has a significant impact on the temperature on Earth. However, since the beginning of industrialisation, the presence of long-lasting greenhouse gases has been increasing dramatically.

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What is CO₂ and where does it come from?

Carbon dioxide (CO₂) is a colourless and odourless gas that is a natural component of our air and makes up part of the carbon cycle.

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What are CO₂ equivalents?

A CO₂ equivalent (CO₂e) is a unit of measurement that is used to standardise the climate effects of various greenhouse gases.

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Who produces CO₂?

Around 84% of all anthropogenic (man-made) CO₂ emissions are created in electricity and heat production, agriculture, industry and transport.

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What is sustainability?

The ecological definition of sustainability originated with the Brundtland Report in 1987, which describes sustainable development as one that satisfies the needs of the present without adversely affecting the conditions for future generations.

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What are climate protection projects?

Climate protection projects support the use of renewable energy, realise energy efficiency measures or reduce methane emissions. This can be achieved through technological advances, the filtering of greenhouse gases from power plants and production facilities, but also through afforestation and other suitable measures in agriculture.

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What standards do our climate protection projects meet?

myclimate applies only the strictest independent quality standards such as CDM, Gold Standard and Plan Vivo when choosing and designing its climate protection projects.

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What meaningful measures and solutions are available for counteracting climate change?

Everyone can make a contribution to climate protection! In line with the motto "Avoid, reduce and compensate", we can take responsibility for our own ecological footprints, i.e. for our CO₂ emissions. The most common everyday causes of harmful emissions are travel with cars or aeroplanes, heating and electricity usage and our consumption behaviour.

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Compensation

What are CO₂ certificates?

CO₂ certificates represent the amount of emissions that are offset. A certificate corresponds to one ton of greenhouse gases.

 

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Why should I offset my emissions?

Climate change caused by humans is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. True to myclimate’s motto “do your best, offset the rest”, it’s best to avoid creating CO₂emissions in the first place. However, due to the fact that the most important thing for the climate is to reduce the amount of emissions worldwide, unavoidable emissions can also be offset.

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What is a CO₂ budget?

The term CO₂ budget is intended to illustrate how much CO₂ may be caused by one's own lifestyle in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C. By ratifying the Paris Agreement, Switzerland has set itself the goal of reducing its emissions to zero net by 2100 at the latest and limiting global warming to 1.5°C. This means that every person in Switzerland is allowed to emit less than 0.6t of CO₂ per year until 2100.

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How does my compensation contribute to climate protection?

The myclimate climate protection projects reduce emissions by replacing fossil energy sources with renewable energy or by promoting energy-efficient technologies. High-quality climate protection projects also contribute to social, ecological and economic development in their respective regions.

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Isn’t offsetting just something to help me have a clear conscience?

Offsetting achieves more than a clear conscience; by supports a high-quality climate protection project, you take effective action for the climate and make a valuable contribution to the environment.

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How much of my compensation will go to the projects?

CO₂ offsetting only achieves something if the payments are actually used directly for climate protection projects. As a non-profit foundation, myclimate guarantees that at least 80 percent of offsetting payments will be used directly in climate protection projects. The foundation requires the remaining amount (maximum 20 percent) to cover administration and internal costs.

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Can I be sure that my money really reduces the promised amount of CO₂?

myclimate invests exclusively in projects that deliver measurable and long-term success. Only emissions reductions that have actually been realised and can be proven over a longer contract term of 7 to 14 years are counted in energy projects. Offsetting payments are normally paid out to the supported projects once reductions are realised. The contribution amount depends on the volume of the project’s greenhouse gas reduction. Forestry projects are slightly different because they have a longer timeline of 30 to 50 years.

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Does myclimate make a profit from selling carbon offsetting?

No, myclimate is a non-profit organisation and, as a foundation, it uses all funds for the goal of protecting the climate.

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Can I deduct my donation/compensation from my taxes?

myclimate and myclimate Germany are charitable foundations and are therefore tax-exempt in Switzerland and Germany. All compensation payments and donations to myclimate are tax-deductible

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Emissions & footprint

What is an ecological footprint?

The ecological footprint was developed by Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees in the mid-1990s and it has since been implemented as an indicator for sustainability. It represents the demands made on the ecosystem and natural resources.

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What is climate neutrality?

Activities are climate-neutral or CO₂ neutral if they do not put a strain on the climate, i.e. if they do not create greenhouse gases.

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What does "net zero emissions" mean?

"Net zero emissions" by 2030 or 2050 is often called for in the global climate movement triggered by Greta Thunberg. But what does "net zero emissions" actually mean?

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What are "negative emissions"?

In order to achieve net zero emissions (see: What does "net zero emissions" mean?), in many scenarios it is necessary to reverse emissions caused by negative emissions elsewhere. To this end, various techniques of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and CO₂ sequestration, also known as carbon capture and storage (CCS), are currently being researched.

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What is emissions trading?

In Europe, North America, Australia and New Zeeland, national and regional emissions trading systems have been introduced to regulate industries that are particularly energy-intensive and emissions-intensive through a market mechanism. Emissions trading employs a marketplace to reduce emissions of harmful gases, which creates motivation for investing in climate-friendly technologies.

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What is sufficiency?

Sufficiency, often also referred to as frugality, starts with consumer behaviour. Based on the principle of "less is more", the general consumption of resources should be reduced to a level that can be reasonably sustained in the future, as the current distribution ratios for goods and resources are not only ecologically dangerous, but also internationally questionable.

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What are the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement?

At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted with the aim of stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a sustainable level and thus counteracting serious consequences. Following ratification by the 50th state, it entered into force in 1994.

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What are emission scenarios, climate models and climate projections?

Climate models are used together with emission scenarios to calculate the probable future climate, so-called climate projections. The climate models describe how the earth's climate functions, while the emission scenarios describe the impact of humans on the environment. If the climate models are combined with the emission scenarios, it is possible to predict with a certain amount of probability how the climate will be in the future.

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Stay informed!