Definition of Carbon Neutral

What Is Carbon Neutral?


The term carbon neutral refers to a zero sum calculation of carbon emissions for any process, product, business, system, person, or even country. In other words, something that is carbon neutral, also referred to as having a net zero carbon footprint or climate neutral, offsets as many carbon emissions as it emits. Carbon neutrality doesn’t refer only to carbon dioxide emissions but to any greenhouse gas emission that contributes to global warming, usually measured in carbon dioxide equivalence.

Determining an entity’s carbon footprint is the first step to going carbon neutral, and usually involves a carbon calculator – simple or complex, depending on the application. A carbon calculator measures the carbon emissions impact of various operations and activities and comes up with a total carbon footprint. Carbon offsets, renewable energy, and carbon sequestering can then be used to “neutralize” – physically or symbolically – part or all of the carbon emissions made. Some examples to help you achieve carbon neutrality are:

  • Reducing energy consumption
  • Producing renewable energy
  • Buying carbon offsets
  • Sequestering carbon
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