What are Carbon Offsets?

What are carbon offsets?

A carbon offset is a certificate that represents the removal or avoidance of one metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions, the driving force of climate change. Through your donations, we fund Colorado-based projects that reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions in one place order to account for emissions made elsewhere in the state. It is a simple way for individuals and businesses to reduce their emissions to zero without making extreme changes to their lifestyle. The Colorado Carbon Fund provides the bridge to account for the gap between the emissions you can realistically reduce, and achieving zero emissions. By using carbon offsets, it is easy to become carbon neutral while supporting projects that make a difference throughout Colorado.

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How are offsets created?

A carbon offset is created when a project removes or avoids 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions. Our emission reduction projects are put through two rigorous protocols depending on the type of project. These protocols ensure a consistent methodology and approach to each similar type of project to increase measurement accuracy. We use the

  • Climate Action Reserve verification process for our methane capture project.
  • Nori verification process for our regenerative agriculture projects.

Using these methodologies ensures that 1 metric ton of carbon is removed or avoided from entering the atmosphere.

Check out this simple infographic explaining carbon offsets

 Globally, carbon offset projects reduce net emissions in one of three ways.

  • By capturing and storing (sequestering) greenhouse gases

    An example of this is reforestation and grassland conservation projects which release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.

  • By capturing and destroying greenhouse gases

    These gases would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere. An example of this is a methane capture project at a landfill that converts the methane into electricity.

  • By producing energy from a renewable source or improving energy efficiency

    An example of this is funding wind power projects.

Where are emissions released into the atmosphere?

Carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions occur from a variety of sources and to simplify this, they are put into 1 of 3 categories.

Scope 1

Scope 1 emissions occur from sources that are owned or controlled by the organization such as burning natural gas for heating, fuels used by company vehicles, or emissions released during on-site manufacturing.

Scope 2

Scope 2 emissions are from purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling for the organizations own use.

Scope 3

Scope 3 emissions are released from operations of the organization but are not directly owned or controlled by the organization. Scope 3 emissions are vast and include business travel, employee commuting, leased assets, use of sold products, processing of waste, and more.

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