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United StatesA new study shows that it takes a lot more energy to make carbon offsets. Thats the conclusion of a study from researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, a German research center. The researchers analyzed a proposal from the Carbon Market Institute, a group based in the United States, for the construction of a sink to capture carbon dioxide emissions when a factory or power plant emits greenhouse gases. The concept is similar to one developed by the Dutch nonprofit Kwarteng Group that captures and stores carbon dioxide emissions from factories and power plants. Or, in other words, to raise enough money to compensate for the increased emissions. The Carbon Market Institutes proposal to sink a large factory or power plant in exchange for a fixed amount of carbon emissions, the Potsdam researchers found, would require about 5 percent of carbon dioxide emissions to be released at night, when emissions are low. The study didnt account for the effect of power plants burning dirtier fossil fuels during the day, but researchers in Canada concluded that this would still bring the total emissions offset by the power plants down to 1,200 tons per year. One of the things that was new to our thinking was the question of whether that process would work well with power generation, said Piotr Boscaria, an associate professor at the Potsdam Institute to the German news agency DPA. Boscaria and his colleagues were surprised that so much energy would be required to offset a factorys greenhouse gas emissions. If you have an oil company that is already burning lots of oil to produce gas, and you want to send that gas elsewhere and you cant because it costs too much, you might as well do it yourself, Boscaria said. This is not necessarily true in the case of power plant emissions. You may need to send them to another country that is producing less clean energy. The carbon market would in some ways be a way to offset emissions because it would bring down the cost of renewables. But the researchers also said that it would probably be more effective to offset these emissions by raising prices, either for fossil fuels or for clean energy. Scientists are trying to figure out how to put a price on carbon dioxideTo an extent the system needs to become more expensive to emit. That is true of many things that need to be reduced, Boscaria said. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, has been talking about a carbon price for years, but it has not yet.

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