How to use Carbon Offsetting to reduce your Carbon Footprint

How to use Carbon Offsetting to reduce your Carbon Footprint

I’m a frequent traveller, both regionally and internationally. Where possible, I catch the train to destinations — but all too often this is very inconvenient or, sadly, not economical.

In these situations, driving or boarding an aeroplane for a flight is often the only option — but this goes against my desire to live an environmentally friendly, or green, lifestyle.

Both cars and planes create Carbon Dioxide (CO2) which cause carbon emissions which are bad for the planet.

I’ve written about my own green journey and how to be an extreme recycler.

So how can I reconcile my need to travel by car and plane with my desire to live a green lifestyle?

What is Carbon Offsetting?

Carbon Offsetting

In a nutshell, many companies have sprung up that offer to offset the carbon you produce as a result of your daily activities (in this case, driving or flying) by funding schemes such as planting trees — which soak up CO2 — and Solar projects with a donation you’ve made after working out exactly how much CO2 you’ve caused to be released into the environment.
So, is carbon offsetting the answer to our planets CO2 issues?

Does Carbon Offsetting work?

Ideally, we should be seeking ways to reduce the actual damage caused by CO2 generated by planes and cars. But in reality, this is a long, slow process, so I’m in favour of being environmentally responsible and funding projects elsewhere that can actually help in the short-term.

Therefore, twice a year I visit the ClimateCare website and participate in the ClimateCare Carbon Offsetting programme.

Using the ClimateCare Carbon calculator, I input:-
  • details of flights I’ve made in the previous twelve months
  • the number of miles I’ve driven in my car in the previous twelve months (tip: your latest MOT certificate shows you your annual mileage)
The calculator then works out the CO2 impact you’ve had and allows you to make a donation towards projects that tackle climate change, protect the environment and help change people’s lives.
[tweet_box design=”default”]The ClimateCare Carbon calculator works out the CO2 impact you’ve had and allows you to donate towards projects that tackle climate change.[/tweet_box]


Reduce your Carbon FootprintI know that Carbon Offsetting is not an ideal solution to the problems that cars and aeroplanes cause for our planet.

You might even argue that using carbon offsetting is more about assuaging your personal guilt, but I don’t subscribe to this.

Carbon Offsetting helps keep me conscious of how much I travel, the unseen impact of that travel and reminds me to mitigate it where possible.

I’m interested in your opinion. Is Carbon Offsetting a good thing or a futile effort? Please leave a comment below.

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  • Matt2006-10-09 13:08:46

    Bugger to ya then... I'm never coming back to that little isle again   ;-)

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