Keywords to Know in the World of Carbon Offsets
What do you know about carbon offsets? Maybe you’re thinking about purchasing them to offset the pollution you create in your daily activities or perhaps you’ve already bought them as holiday gifts for family, friends and colleagues? Either way, you probably want to know how to talk the talk when it comes to managing your carbon footprint and helping save the planet from climate change.
When discussing carbon offsets, the language used isn’t your everyday jargon. Here, we’ve compiled a short list of terms to know:
Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Greenhouse gasses are those gasses in the atmosphere that absorb infrared radiation, trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect. Because they impact the Earth’s temperature, these gasses are a major cause of global warming. Greenhouse gas emissions are made by burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat and transportation and by the destruction of the world’s rain forests and other green spaces. Since 1990, greenhouse gas emissions have increased 4% in the U.S.
Carbon Footprint: Given that most of the gases causing global warming are created by humans, we’re all part of the problem. We can gauge our personal (or corporate) impact on the planet by measuring our carbon footprint via the terrapass Carbon Calculator. The Carbon Calculator is a tool used to analyze your use of a personal vehicle, consumption of public transportation and air travel and reliance upon electricity. See more details on the terrapass Carbon Calculator and carbon offsets here.
Carbon Dioxide Equivalents (CO2e): CO2e (which means Carbon Dioxide Equivalent) is the measure used to account for the emission of other greenhouse gases when calculating the total level of greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide is only one of many polluting, greenhouse gases that are emitted when humans undertake certain activities. A few other greenhouse gases are methane, water vapor, ozone and nitrous oxide. CO2e allows greenhouse gas emissions to be expressed in terms of CO2 based on their relative global warming potential (GWP). The CO2e number is the carbon dioxide produced by a specific activity or thru your daily activities and represents impact on the planet.
Carbon Neutral: Carbon neutral is sometimes referred to as a “net zero carbon footprint.” Both terms imply that someone or something (a lifestyle or activity) doesn’t contribute carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. For most of the population, a carbon neutral lifestyle is very difficult to create and maintain, due to daily transportation requirements, airconditioning and heating your home and office, bathing, cooking, using phones and computers, etc. But one way to achieve carbon neutrality is by purchasing carbon offsets equivalent to the amount of CO2e your unavoidable daily activities create. Check out the options and purchase terrapass carbon offsets here.
Carbon Reduction Project: A carbon reduction project reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere by capturing and destroying certain greenhouse gases and by creating renewable energy. There are various types of carbon reduction projects, including those landfill projects that convert garbage into energy or those that capture methane from dairy farms and convert it into energy. There are other projects that support wind farms that generate 100% renewable energy and projects that promote the growth of forests and other green spaces. You can support these types of projects by purchasing terrapass carbon offsets for individuals or businesses. You can also view all the terrapass carbon reduction projects here.
Commit these terms to memory and you’ll soon be talking climate change and global warming like a pro. And stay on top of global climate issues and terrapass sustainability plans by connecting to the terrapass Footprint Blog. Join terrapass on social media by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook, where we’re always sharing tips and information for living an eco-friendly, green lifestyle.
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.