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How to purchase carbon offsets

By Jeff Cocking

If you read the news, you’re probably aware of the climate crisis. How rising greenhouse emissions are rapidly increasing the planet’s temperature and how we must act now to prevent catastrophe.

The good news is that individual action can make a world of difference.

Purchasing carbon offsets can help reduce emissions. It can be a complicated field to navigate on your own, so it helps to consult an energy empowerment company like Power Wizard, which is devoted to helping you find the best carbon offset plan.

In this article, you’ll learn why carbon offsets are important and how you can buy them to help do your part in fighting global warming.

How a purchase of carbon offsets decreases your carbon footprint

In modern life, it’s impossible to avoid using power. Many states are transitioning to renewables but still have a ways to go. So how do carbon offsets work?

Carbon offsets use a credit-trading system that allows you to compensate for your emissions by canceling out emissions somewhere else in the world.

According to the MIT Climate Portal, when you buy a carbon offset, “you’re buying a commitment from a company or organization that it will remove a certain amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.” That commitment could involve investing in sustainability projects elsewhere, carbon capture projects, planting trees, or some other clean technology.

Your carbon emissions and the amount required to zero it out are calculated. In most cases, you can also support the development of clean technologies.

Ultimately, the aim is to become carbon neutral — or even carbon negative. This will allow countries to emit less than zero percent carbon dioxide, a ratio made possible by carbon capture.

How carbon capture technology works

Carbon capture literally takes carbon out of the atmosphere. This is imperative because the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that reducing emissions won’t be enough to limit future catastrophic climate change. Instead, we need to capture and remove carbon and reduce its atmospheric presence.

There are different ways of achieving this. The oldest technology involves planting trees on a large scale.

Newer technologies focus on three-step processes carbon capture system:

  1. Capturing the carbon dioxide produced in industrial processes like coal and gas plants
  2. Transporting the carbon in compressed form
  3. Injecting the carbon into underground rock formations or deep in the ocean to store it.

Broadly speaking, there are three basic ways to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere: post-combustion, pre-combustion, and oxy-combustion. These involve different kinds of chemical solvents used to separate carbon dioxide from other gases released during industrial processes, such as nitrogen. The most common type of carbon capture is post-combustion.

How to buy high-quality offsets

Not all carbon credit programs are equal. Some offsets make a more significant difference than others in terms of their carbon footprint impact but also in terms of their social mission. For example, some programs seek to give lower-income neighborhoods more access to reliable electricity.

To offer you the most affordable and eco-friendly electricity plan available, Power Wizard has its finger on the pulse of the best and highest-quality carbon offset programs throughout the United States.

Understand the different types of carbon offsets

Some of the main carbon offset projects are:

  • Re-wilding and forestry conservation typically involves three different approaches: 1) afforestation/reforestation (restoring tree cover); 2) avoided conversion (that is, preventing forested land from being devastated) and; 3) improved forest management (focusing on better land management to improve the current level of carbon stocking). There are questions about how measurable the effectiveness of these projects is, but data is becoming more reliable.
  • Renewable energy is sourced from solar, hydro, biomass energy, geothermal, or wind energy generation sites. Renewable energy is helpful by creating local jobs and income, and generating credits that can be sold to support the local region.
  • Better waste and landfill management, such as garbage dumps and landfills, account for high levels of methane and carbon emissions due to the decomposition of natural organic matter. Composting initiatives are one-way cities are targeting such emissions.
  • Better energy efficiency focuses on reducing waste and sometimes employs simple fixes to reduce fossil fuel waste. This could be as simple as better home insulation. Similarly, better, cleaner cookstoves help reduce gas wastage.
  • Methane combustion uses methane as fuel to convert it to carbon dioxide, which is less warming than methane in its raw form.
  • Better technology, such as phasing out pollutants like hydrofluorocarbons from manufacturing — or destroying them at their source — can help reduce emissions. Also included in this category are ingenious solutions being tested to reduce methane, including adding seaweed to cows’ diets, directly reducing cattle methane emissions.

Identify carbon offset programs available

Many new carbon offset programs and technologies are in development. Individuals and businesses interested in buying carbon offsets can search the web for promising technologies or go through a broker specializing in carbon offsets purchase.

These technologies and projects are judged on their effectiveness by criteria like:

  • Permanence: How long does the carbon stay sequestered?
  • Speed: How quickly is the project going to be ready to function?
  • Third-party accreditation: Is the project certified by a neutral party and scientifically proven?

Calculate your current carbon output

You can calculate it based on your activities like:

  • Using electricity,
  • flying on airplanes,
  • driving your car or motorbike,
  • heating or cooling your house (whether using propane, natural gas, coal, wood, etc.), and
  • using public transport.

If you’re curious about how much carbon you emit every year from your home and how you can get the best energy plan, check out the Power Wizard energy calculator.

Purchase offset credits

Buy carbon offsets to zero out your carbon emissions — or even create negative carbon emissions — and improve your personal footprint. You can do this directly through projects offering emission reduction programs or new technologies, exchanges, or, most typically, brokers.

What is the price for offset credits?

The cost will depend on the global marketplace and how many tons of carbon make up your current footprint.

The price of offset credits varies from under $1 a ton to more than $50 a ton. Current carbon offset prices are roughly $3-$6 a ton.

Regarding new technology, the cost of credits varies according to how far along it is in its development, and how big a difference it can make right now.

Make impactful improvements in your personal carbon footprint

Wondering how to buy carbon offsets? The most cost-effective and easiest way to make a difference in your carbon emissions is to go with Power Wizard, an energy empowerment company for Texas consumers devoted to making your energy consumption more affordable and eco-friendly.

Get in touch today to learn more about reducing your power bills and helping the planet approach carbon neutrality.

Power Wizard is a membership service that works tirelessly to bring transformation in the world of energy and save you money. Power Wizard helps solve the complexities of energy — both today and tomorrow.

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