How Carbon Offsetting Can Reduce the Effects of Climate Change

Since the Industrial Revolution, the planet has seen advancements in human technology that rely on fossil fuels to work. Even though the damage has become more evident and drastic over time, people still have some habits that create a larger carbon footprint.

Carbon dioxide is a gas that hangs around in the earth’s atmosphere and acts as an insulating layer, warming the planet and causing natural disasters. In addition to green efforts like recycling and electricity reduction, everyone can participate in carbon offsetting to make the world a better place.

Read on to discover how carbon offsetting can reduce the effects of climate change. It’s another way to protect the world we live in so that the wildlife and human populations can thrive in the coming years.

What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Even when you do your best to live a sustainable lifestyle, there are always ways to cut down on waste. When you have to drive your car to work or use electricity to heat your home, these necessary actions contribute to CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere.

The idea of carbon offsetting began when individuals and companies wondered how they could balance this unavoidable CO2 output. After people calculated their carbon emissions, they formed organizations to combat climate change.

Once you know how much CO2 you contribute to the environment, you can donate to these organizations to reduce other emissions by the same amount. You end up canceling your output, which is what carbon offsetting is all about.

When Do People Create the Most CO2?

Carbon emissions remain one of the biggest threats to the planet because humans create it in so many different ways. The most sustainable lifestyle most likely still adds to environmental CO2, but these are some of the most common ways people generate this gas.

Using Household Electricity

Solar panels are still slowly becoming accessible for people with tighter budgets, so most households rely on standard electricity. In 2019, the power sector created 32% of total CO2 emissions for the U.S. Until green energy becomes standard for residential construction, carbon offsetting is the best way to combat your daily use of electricity for things like cooling your home and running your washing machine.

Driving or Riding the Bus

Most U.S. transportation, both public and private, relies on fossil fuels. You may choose to ride a bus to work instead of driving because passenger buses emit 14 pounds of CO2 per 100 miles compared to 89 pounds in a passenger car. Still, it increases the atmospheric pollution and maintains the constant effects of climate change.

Traveling by Plane

Whether it’s for your job or to visit family and friends, air travel is a modern convenience that’s part of everyday lives. Whenever you find your seat and the plane takes off, you contribute .67 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, depending on the length of your flight. You can always book with airlines that have green mission statements, but there’s no getting around the pollution caused by flights every day.

How Carbon Offsetting Helps

When you donate to carbon offsetting services or organizations, you minimize climate change by partnering with sustainable initiatives. Depending on where you give, companies may capture greenhouse gasses and destroy them, like with landfill methane emissions.

Some companies also use donations to increase their reliance on and distribution of renewable energy. A few may even store greenhouse gases in specific locations to aid the growth of local forests. It all depends on which organizations you find that align with your sustainable goals and environmental concerns.

Do Your Research

Once you find out how much CO2 you create through your routine or travel habits, you can donate to carbon offsetting to reduce or eliminate harmful greenhouse gases. When more people take the time to make this effort, climate change can be an issue of the past, making the planet a healthier place for future generations.

Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

Emily Folk
Emily Folk
Emily is a freelance conservation and sustainability journalist. based in Lancaster, PA

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