How and Where to Buy Carbon Offsets
Using carbon calculators to buy carbon credits
Hopefully by now you’re beginning to feel confident in your ability to purchase verified, trustworthy carbon offsets. By knowing how to spot good-quality carbon offsets, you can sift through good and the green-washed. But there’s more to carbon offsets than simply knowing how to find good companies. Having an idea of the quantity you’ll need is another piece of the carbon offset puzzle.
Calculate carbon footprint
People purchase carbon offsets for a variety of purposes: to offset air travel, to reduce the impact of their vehicles, to neutralize the greenhouse gas emissions they produce at home, and more! Each of these different activities has a different impact on your carbon footprint. Running your computer, for instance, may have a relatively small footprint compared to the one hour commute you make in your SUV every day. So rather than buying pre-sent quantities of carbon offsets, it’s a good idea to calculate the size of your particular activity’s impact so that you don’t buy too little (of course, it wouldn’t hurt to buy too much!).
Where to buy carbon offsets
To make it simple for you to calculate your carbon footprint, there are now literally thousands of carbon calculators online that you can use, most of which will garner different results.
- Carbon Footprint - air travel, driving (including motorbikes), bus/rail, home, etc.
- CleanAirPass - air travel, driving, home
- Climate Friendly - air travel, driving, home, home office, gifts
- ClimateMundi - air travel, driving (including motorcycles), gifts, groups, and more
- CoolDriver - driving
- Environmental Defense Fund - individuals and families
- LiveNeutral - air travel, driving, and home
- Planetair - air travel
- Pure - air travel, driving, home, appliances
- TerraPass - air travel, driving, and home
- The Nature Conservancy - air travel, driving, home, food and diet, waste
- US Environmental Protection Agency - family/household emissions
- Zerofootprint - travel, flights, and diet
As you’ll soon discover, most of the calculators are hosted by companies that also sell carbon offsets, making is easy to calculate and purchase in a few simple steps. They’ll walk you through the entire process, though at times you’ll need some background information from your airline tickets or utility bills (when calculating your home emissions) to garner an accurate idea of how many tons of carbon your activity will produce.
To give you an idea of what you might pay, consider that a flight from New York to London, UK will cost you somewhere between $16 to $88 depending on which company you choose, whether you have any stops along the way, and whether you add offsets for altitude impacts on greenhouse gas emissions.
So don’t let carbon offsets frighten you! Try out one of these reputable carbon offset companies and begin to do your part to reduce the climate impact of your air travel.