How Offsets Disappear Into Clean Air

These three projects aim to slow global warming by destroying greenhouse gases, producing renewable energy, and making activities more energy-efficient. by Heather Eng

Renewable energy Energy efficiency Energy efficiency
Sample project Wind power in Izmir, Turkey Truck stop electrification in the U.S. Nigeria: Efficient wood stoves
Provider MyClimate, which doesn't require a minimum purchase. It allows you to specify that your money be spent on a portfolio of Gold Standard–certified projects, but you can't ask to invest solely in a single type of project, such as wind power. The organization charges in euros and Swiss francs, so your credit card issuer may charge a currency-conversion fee, too. Carbonfund, which doesn't require a minimum purchase. You may designate whether your money goes to renewable energy, energy efficiency, or reforestation projects, Unlike at provider carbonoffsetlist.org, this provider doesn't allow you to invest solely in this truck-stop electrification project. Atmosfair, which doesn't have a minimum purchase requirement. All of its projects are Gold Standard–certified, but you can't ask to invest solely in this Nigerian project. The organization charges in euros, so your credit card issuer may charge a currency-conversion fee, too.
How offset dollars are used To help fund 17 giant turbines that convert wind power into energy. An electrification project at 140 truck stops in 34 states is enabling drivers to hook up their cabs to a unit that supplies power, thus eliminating the need to run the engine, waste fuel, and pollute the surrounding area. Otherwise, truckers often end up running their engines—and burning gallons of fuel—during rest periods so they can keep heat, air-conditioning, or appliances in their cabs working. These rest periods are mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. To help distribute affordable, efficient stoves to families. The stoves use 80 percent less firewood than traditional cooking fires. Nigeria's dependence on firewood for fuel has taken a toll on the country, causing deserts to spread through its northern region.
Benefit Prevents 100,000 tons of CO2 from being released annually, according to myclimate.org. For each hour the cabs are electrified, truckers save as much as one gallon of diesel fuel, according to carbonfund.org. Approximately 30,000 tons of CO2 less released into the air each year, according to atmosfair.de.
Trustworthiness Certified by the Gold Standard. Approved by carbonoffsetlist.org. Certified by the Gold Standard.
Cost to offset a sample itinerary A round-trip flight between New York City and Seattle releases 1.586 metric tons of CO2, which costs SFr66, or about $57, to offset. A round-trip train journey between Chicago and Flagstaff, Ariz., produces about 0.69 metric tons of CO2, which costs about $7 to offset. A round-trip flight between Boston and Austin produces about 1.5 tons of CO2 and costs about $50 (€36) to offset.