Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

We answer the most important questions about 50ZERO and the reduction of your CO2 footprint.

What is the average CO2 footprint?

In 2018, the average CO2 footprint in Germany was around 10.45 tonnes. This figure is based on data from the Federal Environment Agency of Germany saying 865.6 million tonnes of CO2 were emitted in Germany in 2018. Calculated down to a single inhabitant, this corresponds to a per capita emission of 10.45 tons.

Sources: Federal Environment Agency of Germany, Eurostat

How is the price calculated?

First of all: It is very important to us to be 100% transparent in pricing. The price at 50ZERO consists of three parts:

1. The price for the purchase of emission rights (CO2 certificates)
2. Value added tax
3. A small part for our costs (trading fees, salaries)

The price for one ton of CO2 in European emissions trading is currently around 25 €. This is a net price without VAT. For the compensation of one ton of CO2 we charge you approx. 32 €, of which about 5.10 € are VAT, the remaining 26.90 € consist of about 25 € (equivalent to about 90%) from the price for the purchase of the emission right and a remaining share of about 10%, which we use to cover our costs, especially trading and payment fees and salaries.

How can I reduce my CO2 footprint?

In general, there are two ways to reduce your own CO2 footprint:

Option 1: Reduce emissions

The most effective way is to reduce climate-damaging activities to a minimum. For example, you can do without intercontinental air travel or reduce meat consumption - which has a direct positive effect on your own CO2 footprint.

Option 2: Offsetting emissions

A reduction to zero emissions by abandoning and changing consumer behaviour is still an impossibility today. This is where the second possibility of reducing the CO2 footprint comes into play: so-called offsetting. This means offsetting one's own CO2 emissions by saving them elsewhere or removing the corresponding amount from the atmosphere (e.g. by planting trees).

How does CO2 offsetting work?

CO2 offsetting means offsetting one's own CO2 emissions by saving them elsewhere or removing the corresponding amount from the atmosphere (e.g. by planting trees).

CO2 offsetting works like this (example):

  1. You fly to the Canary Islands and back for your summer holiday. This means that you are personally responsible for approx. one tonne of climate-damaging emissions.
  2. You use offsetting to save a ton of CO2 equivalents elsewhere or to remove them from the atmosphere.
  3. If the two processes are offset against each other, the bottom line is a black zero. Offsetting the emissions caused by the flight makes it possible to fly climate-neutrally on holiday.

What is so special about 50ZERO?

Many offsetting providers rely on the support of climate-friendly projects: Since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, there have been globally recognised mechanisms for financing climate-friendly projects through the sale of special certificates. These certificates confirm that the project saves emissions (e.g. by building solar ovens in a developing country) or removes CO2 from the atmosphere (e.g. by reforesting cleared forest areas in South America). Companies or persons wishing to carry out offsetting can buy these certificates through stock exchanges and brokers.

One problem with this method is that this compensation hardly creates any incentives to actually reduce emissions in Europe: we therefore rely on the decommissioning of European CO2 certificates. Already today, the CO2 emissions of major emitters in Europe are capped by the European Emissions Trading Scheme. These markets always function according to the system whereby a government (in our case the European Commission) sets an upper limit for climate-damaging emissions and issues a corresponding number of emission allowances (CO2 certificates). These can then be auctioned by companies and traded among themselves. All companies that are part of the emissions trading system must balance their CO2 footprints and show the corresponding amount of emission allowances. If they do not do so, they will face severe penalties.

50ZERO acquires CO2 certificates and decommissions them. In other words, we are reducing the number of emission allowances available and thus also the possibility for other companies in Europe to emit climate-damaging gases. And directly. This makes climate-damaging business models such as coal-fired power generation unprofitable and creates incentives to switch to climate-friendly technologies.

What is a CO2 certificate?

A CO2 certificate within the meaning of the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) entitles you to emit one tonne of CO2 equivalent once, which is why it is also referred to as an emission allowance. Why equivalent? In addition to CO2, there are other climate-damaging gases, e.g. methane. Their effect on the climate is measured in CO2 equivalents, e.g. the emission of one tonne of methane corresponds to the emission of 25 tonnes of CO2. By the way, the official name for a CO2 certificate in the EU is European Union Allowance (EUA).

What does a CO2 certificate cost?

The price of one CO2 certificate is currently around 25 €.

Why does the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) exist?

The EU uses the Emissions Trading System (ETS) to achieve its climate targets. Currently, the EU has committed itself to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 (base year 1990). This much can already be said: The speed at which greenhouse gas emissions in Europe are reduced must increase in order to achieve the Paris targets.

How does the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) work?

The EU defines an annual upper limit of CO2 equivalents for the European area in accordance with the climate protection targets, which is constantly decreasing, and issues the resulting number of allowances. Power plant operators and large industrial companies in particular are obliged to participate in the ETS. However, there are also voluntary participants, e.g. traders. All participants can bid for certificates from the EU. The EU issues a smaller number of certificates free of charge.

Once a year, each EU plant operator must calculate how many greenhouse gas emissions it was responsible for this year. Then they have to hand over the corresponding quantity of CO2 certificates to the EU, which are then cancelled there. A certificate can only be redeemed once.

If a plant operator does not have enough allowances, it must buy additional allowances at auction or from other market participants. If not, a severe penalty is imminent. The certificates are traded either bilaterally between two companies or via a marketplace, e.g. the EEX in Leipzig. The auctioning and trading results in a market price for CO2 certificates.

The money that the EU earns through the auctioning of certificates ends up in European Innovation and Modernisation Funds, e.g. the German Energy and Climate Fund, with which the transition to a CO2-neutral European Economic Area is to be supported.

What happens if CO2 certificates are deactivated by 50ZERO?

50ZERO buys CO2 certificates and then deactivates them. This means that 50ZERO will not sell the certificates to other market participants. Instead, 50ZERO will hold the certificates. As a consequence, a certificate held by 50ZERO can no longer be used by a plant operator to "pay" a tonne of CO2 equivalent to the EU. In this way, one tonne of CO2 is taken out of circulation.

Do I receive a donation receipt?

Unfortunately, we are currently unable to issue any donation receipts.

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