Carbon offsetting is the act of compensating for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the purchase and application of certificates representing an equivalent amount of GHGs that have been voluntarily reduced by another entity who has invested in carbon reduction or sequestration projects. Each carbon offset represents one metric ton (approximately 2,205 lbs.) of carbon dioxide reduced. They are often used by individuals or organizations who desire to reduce their carbon footprint but are otherwise not able to do so in a practical or viable way.
How Carbon Offsets Work
Offsets are generated from projects that undergo a rigorous, independent evaluation to determine that the emission reductions meet the following criteria:
- They must be real
- They must be permanent
- An independent 3rd party must verify them
- The project must have been implemented voluntarily in the absence of any legal or regulatory requirements
- Funding from carbon offset sales is necessary for project implementation
The sale of offsets will compensate for the project development while providing additional funding for future mitigation activities.
Common Contributors To Carbon Emissions
From the invention of the assembly line to the construction of our modern freeway system, the automobile has been a significant driver in the growth of America’s economy. Whether you are driving across town or the country, the fuel used to power your automobile is a significant contributor to GHGs in our atmosphere. Fortunately, carbon offsets provide an inexpensive way to mitigate your trip. And since they never get hungry or ask, “are we there yet?” offsets may represent the ideal passenger!
Whether you are planning your dream vacation or packing for an essential business trip, you will probably be boarding an airplane at some point during your travels. From the moment that your plane backs away from the gate area until it reaches your destination, it will generate a carbon footprint. So, as you get ready to take to the skies, why not offset your trip?
While the adoption of renewable energy sources is growing rapidly in the U.S., fossil fuels will continue to play a major role in generating electricity for the next few years. In the meantime, carbon offsets represent a simple yet effective way to mitigate your electricity footprint.
Cold winters and hot summers make us thankful for our heating and air conditioning systems. Regardless of whether we are adjusting the thermostat up or down, we rely on fuels to power these systems. Offsetting this fuel use will help us all to achieve carbon neutrality.