What are Carbon Offsets?

What are carbon offsets?

A carbon offset is a certificate that represents the reduction of one metric tonne of carbon dioxide emissions, the driving force of climate change. We sell carbon offsets in order to fund Colorado-based projects that reduce 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 reduces 1 metric tonne of carbon emissions. Our emission reduction projects are put through the rigorous Climate Action Reserve verification process to ensure that 1 metric tonne of carbon emissions are being reduced for every carbon offset produced. Globally, emission reductions projects reduce emission in one of three ways.

Check out this simple infographic explaining carbon offsets

  • 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.