What you will find on this page
- What are carbon offsets?
- Why this matters
- Read up in the news
- How you can do this
- Cool videos
- Comment or suggestion?
- Topic contributors
What are carbon offsets?
Think of carbon offsets as taking CO2 out of the air to balance activities which create CO2 emissions.
Environmental projects like restoring and protecting forests or mangroves are becoming valuable because they can help offset carbon emissions.
Many activities in our daily lives are essential: the food we consume, healthcare, heating and cooling our homes, how we get around, and more. Carbon offsets let us counter emissions from what is necessary in daily life.
If you are considering a carbon offset, check if it has been authenticated by third-party programs. Well-regarded third-party programs include Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, and Green-e Climate Standard.
- Mark Tercek, Former CEO of The Nature Conservancy
- United Airlines Carbon Choice Carbon Offset Program
- Yale Climate Connections: Are Carbon Offsets a Scam?
Here are a few recent write-ups we liked if you want to go deeper on the topic:
- “How to Buy Carbon Offsets” (NYT)
- “Cleaning up your footprint with carbon offsets” (Seattle Times)
- “Everything you need to know about carbon offsets” (Star Tribume)
How you can do this
We looked at various providers for their offerings, verifications, and customer reviews. Here are a few options that check the standards box:
The Nature Conservancy
Start with figuring out your carbon footprint using The Nature Conservancy’s super easy calculator. You can then make a donation as an offset.
Trees For The Future
Trees for the Future is a regenerative agriculture program. It is changing the lives of thousands of farming families across five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Their calculator (worksheet) creates an estimate of your carbon footprint. A donation amount for planting the number of trees associated with that carbon footprint would be your offset. This donation form lets you complete the offset.
Terrapass is a platform for climate change education and projects. It began over 15 years ago to help everyday people reduce the climate impact of driving. Terrapass has an individual calculator for exploring their offset options.
Carbonfund.org supports third-party validated and verified renewable energy, energy efficiency, and reforestation projects. Because they quantify CO2 emission reductions and associate them with lifestyle activities, you can choose carbon offsets that matter to you.
Green-e is one of the standards. They provide a list of verified carbon offsets that you can explore on the Green-e carbon offset web page.
Comment or suggestion?
We hope this is helpful and welcome information. If you have a comment or suggestion, just drop us a note using our contact form. Make sure you include your contact information. We will get back to you as quickly as we can. Keep in mind that we are a small group of volunteers supporting this resource.