Carbon Offsetting Guidelines For Petrol Heads + Jetsetters

How to make your travels near and far more eco-friendly

Carbon Offsetting Guidelines For Petrol Heads + Jetsetters

A comprehensive climate change program isn’t exclusive to companies, it’s something we need to all apply to our individual lives. Carbon offsetting is one of the most popular methods of reducing your carbon footprint, but how do you make sure you’re doing it properly and in a way that has lasting benefits to the planet?

Petrolheads and frequent flyers are two of the biggest targets when it comes to pointing the finger at emission totals. Whether you want to make a change in your own life or counter the output of your industry, here are some guidelines for carbon offsetting.

What is carbon offsetting?

Carbon offsetting is the process of reducing your carbon dioxide emissions or funding a project in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere.

Carbon offsetting is the process of calculating your emissions total (taking into account your driving, flying, etc) and funding projects to the equivalent of that total that helps to balance out those carbon emissions. Carbon offsetting can take many forms, from individual lifestyle changes to projects such as mass tree planting, or even companies and entities buying carbon offsets to comply with regulation limits they’d since surpassed.

A 2016 study showed that the average price of a carbon offset is $3.30 per tonne of carbon dioxide. Generally, though offset schemes, and their offset calculators, vary wildly in price.

Individual carbon offsetting projects have been questioned in the past for how positive their impact really is. When searching for a carbon offsetting project you should look for whether or not it would have happened without the funding, whether or not it causes leakage in the form of additional emissions and if the project will be permanent.

Guide for petrol heads

It’s common knowledge that automobiles are accountable for a huge amount of our global carbon emissions. This makes carbon offsetting cars, trucks and motorcycles a huge undertaking for both individuals and businesses.

The typical passenger vehicle in the United States will emit 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. While there have been improvements to the amount a vehicle emits in recent years, decisive action still needs to be taken by companies and individuals.

If you’re interested in carbon offsetting you can start by using a carbon offset calculator to determine the equivalent of your carbon footprint. Offsetting a vehicle can be cheaper than it looks. For example, you can offset a vehicle for less than $6.50 a year by supporting high quality verified projects.

Alternative ways of offsetting your output as a driver is by making lifestyle changes. Consider cycling or using public transport more frequently to cancel out any need to offset.

If you’re operating a fleet of drivers for your business your carbon offsetting program can be streamlined with the introduction of fuel cards. iCompario and other fuel card companies supply an easy way of tracking what each driver in your business spends on fuel. This can help give you an exact financial total to offset. Many of these providers will also stock biofuel cards to be used on more environmentally friendly fuels.

Guide for jetsetters

Flying is one of the most obvious industries to target for carbon emissions, and with good reason. As fun as jetting around the world for work or pleasure can be, it’s had an undeniable impact. In fact, the industry accounts for 2% of all human-enduced carbon dioxide emissions. That might seem like a small number, but it’s far more substantial than it looks.

Many companies will include offsetting as part of the booking process, pointing you towards projects you can donate to. Australian budget airlines Jetstar were certified carbon neutral in 2010 in part because of its carbon offsetting campaign. Throughout the last decade, many airlines have taken the stand that the responsibility lies with the emitter, not the consumer.

In addition to funding projects, there are other ways you can look to make up for frequent flying in the past. Encourage your place of work to reduce the number of meetings that require flights or suggest the use of video chat. Travel locally by train or even on budget airlines. While that might seem counterproductive, it actually helps reduce the CO2 footprint per person on the flight.

There is a lot of debate surrounding offsetting and it’s value. Consider the legitimacy and goals of the project your funding, or the simple fact of whether making up for the damage already done is enough. As two major emitters though, frequent users of cars and planes must be more considerate in how they offset their impact.

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Laura May
See all posts by Laura May