A carbon offset represents an amount of greenhouse gas that was prevented from being released or was removed from the atmosphere. A proper offset must go beyond what normally would have occurred. Amounts are typically put in metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), but occasionally in US tons, kilograms, or pounds.
There are many actions you could take to limit atmospheric CO2 levels. Carbon offsets may be used to counter any greenhouse gas emissions. Offsets are particularly advantageous for mitigating emissions associated with items or actions that are difficult to avoid, such as food preparation or clothes washing.
Dozens of carbon offset funds exist but the CCOF has distinct advantages besides helping to reduce climate warming.
A first step is to determine how much greenhouse gas you create. This is your carbon footprint. Suggested carbon footprint calculators are on the next page.
The average US carbon footprint is 16 tons of CO2 per person per year, one of the highest rates in the world. The global average is closer to 4 tons.
Global carbon footprints need to average less than 2 tons per person by 2050 to avoid a hazardous 2°C (3.6°F) rise in the climate.
The common usage of renewable energy credits (RECs) and carbon offsets confusingly overlap each other. Both could be used to diminish your carbon footprint.
RECs are generated by energy production and are typically traded on market platforms. RECs can be reserved for use against future carbon emissions to meet a particular energy generation standard. The price of RECs is subject to demand and supply influences. Pacific Power's Blue Sky program is based on RECs.
Carbon offsets allow a consumer to claim reduced or avoided greenhouse gas emissions. True carbon offsets require additionality. That means the offset surpasses the carbon emission reduction or sequestration that would normally occur.
CCOF does not trade its carbon offsets to avoid extraneous market pressures and to maintain the charitable non-profit status of donations.