We need to talk about climate change.
Energy consumption releases CO2 into the atmosphere, which is a leading cause for global warming. However, we can also be part of the solution.
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere has increased dramatically due to industry and fossil fuel use. As more greenhouse gases build up, global temperatures heat up which results in climate change: unpredictable weather patterns like severe storms or droughts, coastal flooding, glacial melting, among other effects (which will lead to even more negative consequences).
There has been growing awareness about carbon offsetting and the benefits of reducing our carbon footprint continue to be recognized as it becomes more important than ever with climate issues becoming ever present in our news headlines.
What is carbon offsetting?
Carbon offsetting helps solve climate change by encouraging people and organizations to reduce their carbon footprint, compensating for the residual emissions through funding green projects that will have a positive impact on the environment. More and more people are choosing this option because they are becoming aware of how it easy it can be to make a difference in combatting global warming.
Carbon offsetting, historically also known as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions trading, works to balance the total emission of greenouse gases.
How does carbon offsetting work?
Offsetting offers a simple and easy way for people and organizations to make up for their carbon emissions by donating money to green projects that reduce emissions and/or increasing renewable energy sources.
When you pay for a carbon offset, you are paying for someone else to reduce their own CO2 emissions in an equal or greater measure in other ways. Carbon offsetting measures the amount of carbon an activity emits and determines whether it will cause or contribute to climate change. This is then matched with a sustainable project elsewhere which can reduce emissions correspondingly.
In fact, offsetting has been around for decades, but the concept has only recently started to become popular.
So what can you do?
The simplest thing to do is reduce electricity and fuel consumption wherever possible – turn off lights when not in use and save energy at home by using energy efficient appliances like washing machines without pre-washing clothes first. You could also consider carpooling or taking public transport rather than driving your own vehicle when attending conferences for example
But for most people and businesses cutting down is simply not enough, as it’s not possible to both live a normal life (or run a business) with zero emissions. So while the most important thing we can do is reduce our emissions, it’s crucial that we offset whatever emissions we can’t eliminate ourself.It’s also important to help spread awareness about carbon offsetting, since it can be a hard concept to understand.
Carbon offsetting example
As an example, consider the average family who flies twice each year. Flights account for around 1/5 of total CO2 emissions from travel , meaning that for every two flights taken, one tonne of CO2 is created (an individual emits around 2-3 tonnes per year). If this family offsets their household emissions and pays $30 per tonne, they will pay $60 in total – covering both trips and paying to plant trees to absorb their own extra emissions.
Trees are nature’s insurance policy against climate change
Tree planting is the most popular carbon offset type for individuals and small businesses. This is because trees are such cost-efficient carbon sinks: a single tree cost very little to plant and once matured can absorb about 48 pounds of Co2 per year.
While that doesn’t sound like much compared to the emissions of a single individual, the tree continues to absorb greenhouse gases for the remainder of its life. In essence, trees are literally the gifts that keep on giving!
However, while trees are a crucial weapon against climate change, it’s already too late to rely on planting trees alone. It takes many years for a tree to mature and until it’s fully grown, it is absorbing less greenhouse gases.
Even if we were to plant a billion trees tomorrow, it wouldn’t be enough to stop climate change, because global warming has already progressed too far. By the time the trees have matured, we’ve missed the deadline to reverse the effects of climate change.
That’s why it is absolutely necessary to go further than just planting trees, despite all the benefits tree planting has.
How Offsetta can help
Our goal is to make it as easy and affordable as possible for everyone to offset their Co2 and greenhouse gas emissions in order to become carbon neutral or even carbon positive.
By funding tree planting, we’re actively combating deforestation and helping to lay the foundation for a climate-friendly future. We add additional, select green projects into the mix as opportunities arise by funding projects that are certified and endorsed by the Gold Standard.
The Gold Standard is a strict set of requirements which ensures that the environmental impact is maximized. The WWF, the UN, and the World Bank endorses the Gold Standard, among many others.
Some examples of current Gold Standard projects include building solar power farms in India, constructing wind power in Turkey, and water purification in Cambodia. Purifying the water removes the need to boil it before use, which in turn reduces electricity consumption drastically.
What can I offset with Offsetta?
Our ambition is to be a the platform of choice for carbon offsetting, regardless of what you want to offset. And frankly, in the connected, always-on and open world we live in today, we’re using more electricity and fuel than ever – and there’s consequently more things than ever that we need to offset.
Offset your website
Unbeknownst to many, the Internet annually contributes roughly as much Co2 as the entire United Kingdom does, and the UK has a population of some 60 million people.
This is because websites require a ton of electricity to be available 24/7, to transfer websites fast over long distances, and to be locally downloaded and rendered on the visitors computer.
By offsetting your website you can provide the visitor with the same experience as you do today, but with the added bonus that your visitors (be they customers or personal blog readers) will know and appreciate that you’re doing your part in the fight against climate change.
Offset your car
All cars release CO₂ into the atmosphere when driven, including electric cars (EVs) and hybrids.
You might think that your hybrid or EV means that you’re not harming the environment, but the reality is that even a zero-emission EV runs on electricity that most likely is generated partially or fully by burning fossil fuels.
The only way to ensure that your car doesn’t actively cause climate change is to offset the emissions of your car. With offsetting, whatever Co2 you release by driving your car is removed elsewhere on the planet.
Offset your flight
Airplanes can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) because of the fossil fuels they burn and release gases into the atmosphere. GHGs is a term for the products of human activities that result in long-term global warming. Air travel emits more CO2 than any other sector, accounting for 11% of all emissions according to some studies.Why does air travel contribute to climate change?
On a single flight from Los Angeles to New York City, there are 1.9 tons of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. This is equivalent to driving a car over 800 miles or heating an average size home for six months. Airlines use jet fuel which emits large amounts of greenhouse gases when burned.
If you offset your flight, you are basically removing the equivalent amount of Co2 somewhere else, making your flight carbon neutral.