Carbon Offsets, A Primer
Shutting off the lights, doing away with plastic water bottles, walking or cycling instead of driving…there’s an endless list to the actions we incorporate into our daily lives to narrow our carbon footprints and hopefully, reduce climate change. That said, most of us regularly engage in activities that expand our carbon footprint and alternatives to these actions (air travel, driving distances that aren’t serviced by public transportation, preparation of many foods, heating water for bathing, etc.) aren’t yet readily available. There’s a way, however, to mitigate or resolve the environmental damage we cause in our everyday lives. Read on to get a better understanding of the benefits of purchasing carbon offsets and start restoring the balance in your daily life.
Carbon offsets are physical proof (usually in the form of a certificate) that carbon dioxide emissions have been removed from the atmosphere by renewable energy projects. One carbon offset is equal to the reduction of one metric ton or 2,205 pounds of CO2 emissions. When you purchase carbon offsets, you contribute to projects throughout the country that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For those activities that don’t have a green solution (air travel, mobile phone or computer use, etc.), carbon offsets make environmental and economic sense, as they allow individuals and corporations to offset their personal environmental damage by funding projects that reduce emissions and offer green energy solutions. It’s a win-win!
Carbon offsets are created from projects that destroy GHG and/or generate alternative energy sources. At TerraPass, we invest in landfill gas capture projects that turn garbage into power. As the landfill’s organic waste breaks down and releases methane, the methane gas is collected and then burned in a generator, creating clean, renewable energy.
TerraPass also funds renewable, green energy projects. Wind power, for example, creates clean power that’s made available for purchase so that individuals and corporations can reduce their reliance on energy produced from gas and coal (fossil fuels).
Other TerraPass carbon reduction projects capture and store emissions before they can be released into the atmosphere. For example, carbon is organically stored in forests – in the trunks, leaves, branches and roots of trees. Offset-funded projects modernize forest management practices to increase the carbon levels stored in the arbors.
Interested in reducing your carbon footprint and supporting these and other sustainable projects? Measure your carbon footprint with the TerraPass carbon calculator, and then you can easily (and affordably) purchase the carbon offsets needed to balance the pollution created from your everyday life.
For more eco-friendly lifestyle tips and information, stay connected to the TerraPass Footprint Blog. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook, where we’re always sharing news and ideas for living in sustainable, green style.
Take the first step.
Start small. Be conscious of the impact your actions have on the environment and figure out what you can do to lessen the blow. Calculate, conserve, and offset.
For businesses, our Corporate Sustainability Plans can help you with your emission reduction goals.