All the changes in the atmosphere, be it hotter or cooler temperatures, the increase in sea levels, melting of glaciers, or the more-than-frequent hurricanes, are all primarily a result of the increased carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere, and every person on this planet is responsible for this. Everything that we use nowadays is an industry-made product. Even if you drive a car for ten minutes per day, you contribute to the increase of carbon dioxide.
At the start, we can make sure that the carbon dioxide which we emit in the atmosphere, is offset somewhere else, so that we can at least get rid of the guilt-factor and help in bringing about a change, however small it can be. This change can be brought about by buying carbon credits.
What are Carbon Credits?
Carbon credits are basically offsets, which you purchase to achieve carbon neutrality. It means you save the same amount of carbon from being emitted somewhere else, which you have directly or indirectly emitted. They are measured in terms of per ton of carbon dioxide emitted. Their price varies from $15 to $40 per ton, based upon the variation in the demand and supply. This price is volatile, given their global exchange, and the currency dynamics involved.
If you are based in the USA, carbon offsetting for you can be done through any solar power project based in the Middle East or through forestation in Australia. They have added a new dimension to our everyday lives, helping us to understand which products should be used and avoided, given the amount of carbon emission they cause.
Procedure to Buy
The average carbon footprint (amount of carbon you emit) of an American is around 19 to 20 tons of carbon dioxide per year. But since this is an average value, you should calculate your carbon footprint before buying carbon credits. There are many websites, which can help you to calculate your carbon footprint simply by asking you the daily miles you travel by your car, quantity of fuel you use, your electricity and gas usage, your average air travel, and so on.
After this calculation, you can buy carbon credits online to offset your carbon emission. Many providers like Carbonfund, The Climate Trust, and TerraPass, sell them online, and you can see their comparisons on websites like Carbon Catalog and EcoBusinessLinks, so as to decide where you want to buy it, so that your purchase has an effective designated impact. You can simply buy them using your credit card or PayPal.
The money collected from you is allocated to various projects supported by the provider, like solar power, geothermal power, wind power projects, as also for biomass combustion, and forestation. Large businesses, who have a very high percentage of carbon emissions, can decide how their carbon credits are used. It means they can have a say on which kind of carbon saving project their funds will support. Individuals do not have such a choice, but they can certainly check the authenticity of the project from the provider.
You need to check whether these projects are certified according to industry standards and verified by third parties. Some of these standards include the UN Clean Development Mechanism, Environmental Resources Trust, Voluntary Carbon Standard, Green-e Climate, and California Climate Action Registry. Also check whether your offset provider is open about its management and ethos.
Ensure the provider explains the money spent on various projects by getting his portfolio audited on a regular basis. A financial audit ensures the designated usage of your money. As mentioned earlier, the pricing can vary a great deal due to differential project costs and administrative overheads. Check if the pricing is justified through comparison with other credit providers.
Knowing how to buy carbon credits is not that difficult, although you need to ensure how your money is allocated to different projects and check their authenticity. One simple step of buying them and helping lower carbon emissions, can be a stepping stone for the change that we can bring about. Your example can trigger and convince other people around you, to do the same.