Carbon Offsetting

Consider offsetting your carbon emissions from travelling

The idea of carbon offsetting is to reduce the impact of producing carbon dioxide emissions from everyday activities such as driving cars, heating homes and flying. The emissions from these sorts of activity are calculated by a carbon offsetting provider and then paid for through a donation to a project that reduces carbon by the equivalent amount. These projects range from tree-planting to renewable energy schemes, many of which tend to be overseas, often in developing countries.

There are concerns, however, that carbon offsetting can encourage unsustainable behaviour, through encouraging the idea that it's alright to drive to work, or fly, for example, as long as you offset your journey by paying into an offsetting scheme. Instead, we should be moving towards lower carbon lifestyles. Carbon offsetting should only be used as a 'last resort' ie once individuals (or businesses and organisations) have done all they can to cut down on or avoid emissions. It is also important to be confident that the project you are helping to support would not have happened anyway.

Here are a couple of example of organisations involed in carbon offestting. There are others and it must be noted that Mendip Environment does not support or endorse any of these organisations.

The Gold Standard is a non-profit foundation which has set a standard for emissions reduction projects. The idea is that people buying into gold standard carbon offsetting schemes can be confident that the project is a good investment, makes a genuine reduction in CO2 emissions, and is beneficial to the host country and sustainable development.

The Converging World addresses climate change through carbon reduction and helps to alleviate poverty through social investments into sustainable development. Profits from the generation of clean energy in developing countries is ploughed back into developing more renewable energy and investing in community development overseas. Carbon credits are also generated which are offered to individuals and businesses to compensate for unavoidable carbon emissions, and the income is used to help fund carbon reduction programmes in Britain.