Science of Carbon Offset

The science bit

We explain the science behind carbon offset and show why hemp is such a powerful tool in our fight against climate change.

What is climate change and what does global warming have to do with it?

Carbon dioxide traps heat in our biosphere. Hotter oceans have more energy, so release more water vapour into the air. Hotter air holds more water. Hotter air melts ice caps, leading to higher ocean levels and more devastating storm surges. The melted ice cap water heats up and so the heating cycle on steroids continues. This is very basic science, something that most 10 year-olds can grasp. But many older men in positions of power are unwilling or unable to grasp this inescapable, scientific truth. This is bad.

What’s the greenhouse effect?

what-is-greenhouse-effect-climate-change
This diagram shows the Earth’s energy budget, which includes the greenhouse effect. Source: NASA.

Burning fossil fuel, such as oil, petrol, diesel, gas or natural gas, creates greenhouse gases (GHGs), mainly carbon dioxide but also methane and nitrous oxide. When these greenhouse gases gather in the atmosphere, they block solar energy – heat – from escaping back into space. So the atmosphere gets hotter, more energetic, more capable of intense weather events and enormous hurricanes. Critically, water vapour itself is a greenhouse gas. The effect of these gases trapping heat in the atmosphere is the greenhouse effect. Just like a greenhouse in a garden.

What’s the alternative to global warming and climate change, and why don’t we embrace it?

Renewable energy, such as solar and wind, creates the power to run an electricity-generating station or to charge an electric car, but without emitting any greenhouse gases. It really is that simple. A key blocker is that we are lectured about the high cost of renewables. Take that one with a pinch of salt. It’s estimated that 2015 global fossil fuel subsidies were $5.3 trillion, yes 5.3 thousand billion dollars, which represented 6.5% of global GDP. So, while Elon Musk and China make great progress driving down the cost of solar, there is not a level playing field while big oil still gets corporate welfare handouts from friends in high places. As well as the US and most Middle Eastern countries, the EU is also guilty of subsidising the fossil fuel industry.

Plants are awesome – they make oxygen

Photosynthesis is pretty incredible when you think about it. Using the power of sunshine, plants absorb CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the air, then combine it with water to create the carbohydrates – glucose – that they use to grow, emitting an exhaust gas in the process. Thankfully, that exhaust gas is oxygen. Because of plants, we exist. All our food is powered by plants and photosynthesis, and the oxygen that we need to survive is generated by plants. Oxygen rules, and your body is 65% oxygen!

Plant for life!

hemp-cannabis-leaves-plants-stop-climate-change
Hemp leaves. Hemp is probably the most effective plant at absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to stop climate change.

There is a growing awareness that plants hold the key to solving the climate crisis. Why risk tampering with the atmosphere (will we ever learn?) or waiting for some new technology to be invented, when plants and trees (and the ocean!) are already working hard to pull the planet back from the brink? Trees are a great strategy, so let’s plant billions of them, everywhere possible. They take a few years to get going, though, and time is of the essence. That’s where hemp comes in.

How hemp can help stop climate change

Hemp is a fast-growing, highly fibrous plant. This means that hemp absorbs lots of CO2, carbon dioxide, from the air as it grows. Different varieties of hemp will absorb different amounts of CO2. Varieties grown for seed will sequester around 6 tons of CO2 per acre in a single growing season. High fibre varieties will sequester around 10 tons of CO2 per acre in a single growing season. In hot countries, two crops per year are possible. When you consider that forestry can take up to 30-40 years to show net carbon benefit, we believe that hemp literally has the power to save the world.

Our plan is to enable the planting of hemp all over the world, funded by the sale of carbon offsets, and sustainable and hemp products from our online marketplace.

hemp-carbon-offset-infographic-hempoffset
This infographic shows you the power of hemp. Please share!

The hemp plant multiplier effect

So hemp absorbs carbon dioxide and pumps out oxygen, but this story gets even better. As hemp has so many industrial uses, it can also displace the oil and oil-based plastics that are causing so much damage. Hemp fuel – biodiesel and ethanol – can power vehicles instead of petrol, and hemp concrete – hempcrete – can displace cement as a building material. Cement production is a major source of CO2 emissions. And hemp plastic is, well, plastic that is completely biodegradable: it’s made from a plant, not from poisonous Saudi or Russian oil.

Hempoffset will work with you and partners all over the world, harnessing the power of hemp to save the planet, and here are five things you can easily do to help plants stop climate change:

1. Remember Johnny Appleseed? When you eat an apple, try to bury the core in the soil somewhere. Whenever you have seeds, plant them into the ground, or start them off in a pot until established.

2. In the autumn, gather seeds from any trees that you can, such as chestnuts and acorns. Plant them in nature or stick them in pots until you can take them somewhere that will give them the opportunity to grow into the giant CO2-absorbing machines that they are destined to become.

3. Share these tips on social and when in conversation. Encourage everybody to start actively planting trees. Put pressure on your government to embark on large-scale tree planting.

4. If you have some land and would like to grow hemp with us, get in touch today.

5. Measure your carbon footprint, be shocked, offset and reduce.

Wisdom from China

An old Chinese proverb says:

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today.


You liked this? So, share it!