Do your summer plans include flying somewhere? Air travel emits as much carbon as 136 million cars a year. That's a lot of greenhouse gases!
Carbon offsetting is becoming increasingly popular as a way to counterbalance your pollution. The basic idea is that you figure out your personal contribution level to global warming from such activities as driving, flying or home energy use. You then purchase the equivalent carbon offsets to invest in projects that absorb carbon and reduces future emissions.
Besides the traditional program offsets that fund the planting of trees (which absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen), many now focus on funding the switch to clean energy technologies in developing countries, such as distributing efficient cooking stoves, capturing methane from landfills, building wind farms to replace fossil fuels, and much more.
Many airlines now offer the option to calculate and directly purchase carbon offsets when you purchase your tickets online. Make sure whichever offset program you are using is reputable - two certifications you can look for are the Verified Carbon Standard and the Voluntary Gold Standard.
While carbon offsets are a nice option to counterbalance the environmental pollution that comes from flying, there are even better ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Just like recycling’s “Reduce, reuse then recycle”, there’s a hierarchy: “Don’t fly, fly with the most efficient airline, then offset.” So check efficiency first, using Atmosfair’s airline ranking (Air France comes top). Then choose your offset scheme – it must be verifiable, traceable and permanent.
Happy travels this summer!

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