Thursday, July 31, 2008

What I am doing #2 - carbon offsets

I just looked at offsetting my carbon footprint for driving, using this handy calculator at TerraPass. According to the calculator, by driving my 1994 Toyota Corolla (automatic) 6,000 miles I am pumping around 5000 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere. (I would have liked a metric version.) To offset this amount will cost me $29.75 USD on one of TerraPass' projects. I found TerraPass using Google, but it is linked on the Suzuki Foundation's Go Carbon Neutral page.

One Canadian carbon offsetting company would like to charge me $75 CDN for five tonnes (11,000 lbs) of offsets, while another wanted $38 for 1,927 kg (4,239 lbs). You do the math. (It's not that hard to do, but it is indicative of the lack of clarity surrounding offsets.) Then research the offsetter, their projects, their efficacy, etc...

And then contemplate the ethics of buying your way to a cleaner conscience. (I know, that was heavy-handed.) Why not just drive less? Don't fly so often. Buy local. Don't heat your home in the winter. Don't refrigerate your food. Errr....

But I think I'm going to do it. $30-40 isn't that much to offset my yearly driving record. And by monitoring (then limiting) how much I drive, I should decrease my yearly output.

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