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How to Buy Carbon Offsets

The New York Times

Air travel, especially long trips, is one of the worst things an individual can do for the climate. For many, though, swearing off flying isn’t a viable option. That’s where carbon offsets can come in. But how do you actually buy and use these offsets?

Carbon offsets compensate for your emissions by canceling out greenhouse gas emissions somewhere else in the world. The money you pay to buy offsets supports programs designed to reduce emissions. Those might include projects to develop renewable energy, capture methane from landfills or livestock, or distribute cleaner cooking stoves.

If you decide to buy offsets, you have a lot of choices. Some airlines give you the option to buy them through their sustainability programs. Many online companies and nonprofits also offer them.

To make sure your money ultimately goes to worthwhile projects, look for certifications by auditors or standards groups like The Gold Standard or Green-e. Companies and nonprofits that deal in carbon offsets will list these certifications on their websites if they have them. Some standards groups also have databases of projects that have been verified by third-party auditors.

There is no fixed price on carbon, and the cost of an offset varies from project to project, depending on how expensive it is to run a given program, said Sarah Leugers, director of communications at The Gold Standard. In general, though, carbon offsets probably cost less than you think.

Read the full and original article at The New York Times

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