How does One Offset Carbon Emissions?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

There are a number of ways to offset carbon emissions for people and companies who are concerned about their carbon footprint. It is important to be aware that offset programs should also be combined with reduction programs, which are designed to reduce the overall amount of carbon emissions a person or company is producing, rather than just mitigating the pollution.

Emission credits are used as an incentive to reduce carbon emissions.
Emission credits are used as an incentive to reduce carbon emissions.

In some industries, offsetting carbon emissions is obligatory, so that companies can meet carbon emissions caps which are designed to reduce greenhouse gases. People and companies can also engage in voluntary carbon offset programs. Numerous companies all over the world offer ways for people to offset carbon emissions, with participants paying a flat fee for every ton of carbon they generate.

People can offset their carbon emissions by using sustainable energy, like wind power, instead of fossil fuels.
People can offset their carbon emissions by using sustainable energy, like wind power, instead of fossil fuels.

Companies which provide programs to offset carbon emissions use several methods to offset the emissions of their customers. One of the most common is investment in renewable energy using the funds provided by participants in the program. Companies can also invest in environmental cleanup, greenhouse gas reduction programs, and reforestation programs. The most reputable programs are affiliated with an organization which oversees the trading of carbon allowances and carbon offsets.

To reduce carbon emissions, companies can look for cleaner sources of electricity instead of coal.
To reduce carbon emissions, companies can look for cleaner sources of electricity instead of coal.

People who want to offset their carbon emissions without having to purchase carbon offsets from a company have a number of options. They can invest directly in renewable energy and in environmental remediation, for example, and they can also sponsor tree planting and reforestation activity. Urban residents might want to consider participating in programs which are designed to add more greenery to the urban environment, whether by establishing rooftop gardens, installing green walls and roofs in commercial structures, or landscaping road medians.

People can offset their carbon emissions by using sustainable energy sources, like solar panels.
People can offset their carbon emissions by using sustainable energy sources, like solar panels.

People can also offset their CO2 emissions by using renewable energy sources for their homes and vehicles. Someone who wants to offset carbon emissions from a car, for example, could use solar panels or a windmill to balance out the carbon generated by the car by reducing the carbon emissions associated with electricity generation for a home. This will also have the effect of reducing overall carbon emissions.

Reforestation programs grow new trees, which help offset CO2 emissions.
Reforestation programs grow new trees, which help offset CO2 emissions.

Employees who are concerned about the carbon emissions associated with their employers may want to consider approaching supervisors or the head of the company with suggestions for carbon offset programs. Likewise, citizens can push civic leaders to explore options to offset carbon emissions associated with government operations. In these cases, it may help to have information about companies which sell carbon offsets packaged and ready to make it easier to argue the case for buying carbon offsets.

A zero-emission vehicle does not create pollutants.
A zero-emission vehicle does not create pollutants.
Automobiles are a major source of carbon dioxide emissions and other pollutants.
Automobiles are a major source of carbon dioxide emissions and other pollutants.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon129699

How does one participate in carbon trading. Am a farmer in kenya using natural mature to grow food.

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