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Carbon Neutrality, Carbon Emissions and Carbon Offsets

Climate neutrality means changing the way we live and do business in order to reduce and compensate for the impact of our operations on the world’s changing climate. Most modern activities release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. You add carbon emissions to the environment every time you drive a car, turn on a computer or even when you read this document. The question you may ask is “Can polluting emissions from one person really harm the planet?” The answer is really quite simple. Multiply the emissions by the world’s six billion strong population, and the result is a planet that is being ravaged by the effects of climate change. You can slow the melting of the polar ice caps and the rising of the oceans by going carbon neutral. The idea behind carbon neutrality is simple - for every ton of carbon you release into the atmosphere, you purchase a ton’s worth of carbon offsets. A carbon offset is a credit purchased from a company that actively reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Wind and solar farms, geothermal plants and carbon sequestration projects all offer carbon offsets. These initiatives keep carbon dioxide out of the air, which in turn offsets the carbon you release into the air. Here are some practical ways you can offset your carbon emissions? Reduce your carbon emissions You might be doing a good deed by going carbon neutral, but that good deed will cost you - carbon offsets can be pricey. By reducing your overall emissions now, you’ll end up paying less for your carbon offsets. Focus on simple and cost-effective measures to reduce your emissions - use public transit, take the train instead of a plane and buy energy efficient appliances. Decide just how neutral you want to be Going completely carbon neutral can be expensive, so many people choose to offset only some of their activities. A business executive might choose to offset his plane travel. A family might decide to offset their home electricity use. And many brides/grooms are looking to offset the carbon emissions from their weddings. You might want to start your carbon neutral life by offsetting one of the leading causes of carbon emissions - car travel. Use a carbon calculator to determine your total carbon emissions If you’re looking to offset your carbon emissions, you’ll need to know exactly how much pollution you produce. Some calculators are specific to one emission source - airplane or car travel. Other calculators help you figure out your daily carbon dioxide output. Each calculator gives you a different number; some calculators factor all polluting emissions into the equation, while others only consider carbon dioxide emissions. Based on your carbon emissions purchase your carbon offsets. Purchase carbon offsets You can find dozens of vendors selling carbon offsets online. The carbon offset market is largely unregulated and price and quality can vary greatly from vendor to vendor. All offset vendors should be part of the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA); this organization requires all members to follow rules and regulations under its Code of Best Practice. Also look for projects that meet the Gold Standard, the highest standard for carbon offsets recognized by World Wildlife Federation International and Greenpeace International. Once you’ve purchased your carbon offsets, you can rest easy knowing that your daily activities are not harming the earth. Once a year, review your emissions using a carbon calculator. With a new awareness of the state of the planet, you may find that you produced less CO2 than the year before. If so, you can purchase fewer carbon offsets next year - or you can choose to offset even more of your emissions. Changing the organisational culture and fine tuning your lifestyle are essential steps in the collective efforts to achieve climate neutrality. While global warming is a global problem, each individual can make a difference!



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