Green Tech Talk: Carbon Offset Programs

If you’d like to do something about the carbon emissions you contribute by driving your car and using electricity, but can’t give up vehicles or access renewable energy for your home, don’t worry. You can still offset some of the carbon by purchasing carbon offsets through various programs.

Carbon offset programs allow people to calculate their carbon footprint, taking into consideration the use of cars, electricity and heating. The carbon, which is measured by weight, can then be offset with money that funds clean and renewable projects, including solar and wind energy, conservation and reforestation. It’s a bit like donating, but the amount is specifically tailored to your carbon use. The clean energy products that are funded, it is hoped, will counteract the carbon emissions being produced elsewhere.

Wind turbines

image via Shutterstock

If you’re not able to spend the money on carbon offset programs, you can still reduce your carbon footprint by doing things like weatherizing you home and using energy efficient appliances. Also, be aware that not all carbon offset programs are created equal, so doing a little research is a good idea before committing to. In fact, carbon offsets have incurred criticism for this reason. Check out some of the stories below and learn about carbon offsets.

  • CarbonFund.org and Terra Pass explain how carbon offset projects work.
  • Carbon Offset Research and Education provides policy information and information for carbon offset buyers.
  • EcoBusiness Links provides a directory of carbon offset providers, their prices, and the types of projects they fund.
  • Good has an article about how to pick the best, most effective carbon offset programs.
  • Partake in carbon offsetting by drinking beer? Apparently. Bison Brewing has the details.
  • Business Wire reports how band O.A.R. partners with UPS to offset their carbon emissions while touring.
  • You’d think they’d be greener: AlterNet discusses the carbon emissions of the cannabis industry, and reports that Boulder is now requiring medical cannabis dispensaries to pay carbon offsets.
  • In Australia, the Cooma-Monaro Express talks about carbon offset initiatives being offered to regional farmers.
  • Next month, Canada will be celebrating its first National Tree Day, promoting awareness and planting trees as a method of offsetting carbon. Market Wire has the story.
  • The Sacramento Business Journal talks about the Placer Land Trust, designed to help ranchers and farmers take part in carbon offset projects.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.