Fun Facts About Carbon Offsetting

Fun Facts About Carbon Offsetting

  • Carbon Offsetting describes the effort to neutralize or reduce the detrimental impact on the environment caused by human activity.
  • In abstract terms, your carbon footprint is the impact that your everyday activities have on the environment, measured in terms of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • The Dell Computer Corporation will sell you a tree with the purchase of your personal computer. The tree is planted to absorb carbon dioxide generated in the manufacture and use of the computer.
  • Carbon Neutral describes any activity or system that emits no net carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The system may emit some CO2 but a logically related system has been secured to sequester an equivalent of CO2.
  • Carbon credits can be purchased from for-profit companies in order to offset activities that emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Such a company is Generation Investment Management, a private company headquartered in the UK.
  • Former Vice President and Nobel Prize Winner Albert Gore Jr. claims to live a carbon neutral lifestyle by purchasing carbon credits from companies such as Generation Investment Management.
  • Mr. Gore is Chairman of Generation Investment Management.
  • Other greenhouse gasses caused by human activity include methane, nitrous oxide, tropospheric ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons.
  • A hydrogen-powered car produces no greenhouse gasses from the tailpipe.
  • A hybrid engine in a car reduces the carbon footprint of the driver by capturing mechanical energy, storing it in a battery, and using it to power the vehicle as needed. The mechanical energy would otherwise be dissipated as heat.
  • For each US gallon of gasoline consumed as fuel, 19.2 pounds (8.7 kg) of carbon dioxide is emitted.
  • For each gallon of heating oil consumed, 24.8 pounds (11.26 kg) of carbon dioxide is emitted.
  • Approximately 1.36 pounds of carbon dioxide is emitted per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated by burning fossil fuels.
  • Carbon dioxide had been recently (April, 2009) classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a pollutant.
  • In 2003, during the Bush administration, the EPA announced that carbon dioxide could not be classified as a pollutant.
  • The average cheeseburger requires about 6.8 pounds of carbon dioxide to produce. This includes raising, slaughtering, transporting, storing, and cooking the food.
  • Plants require carbon dioxide to survive the same way that humans require oxygen.
  • Assuming 10,000 pages per year, an HP LaserJet 2820 has a carbon footprint of 1364 pounds. The associated electricity cost is approximately $95.
  • sells carbon offsets. The cost for an average US home is $168 per year, which offsets the 24 tons of carbon dioxide emissions caused by the home. The site accepts monthly installments or annual payments.

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Comments 21 comments

cally2 profile image

cally2 7 years ago from Paraparaumu, New Zealand

Funny how Gore has become the first multi-millionaire from carbon credits. (I'm not believing the media reports of him being a billionaire until next year). However it does not surprise me that an administration led by someone as intelligent as Bush would say that carbon is not a pollutant. Despite almost every scientist saying that it is.

It strikes me as very strange that rather than reducing our carbon imprint we can buy credits from someone else- do they have a spare planet somewhere that they are putting all this carbon?

The whole concept of reducing waste is undermined if those with money (mostly western countries) are allowed to increase their emissions by paying those who say they are being green.

I think what needs to happen is a mind shift in Western cultures. We waste too much. The world is finite. Every individual needs to take responsibility for themself and not use so much of everything. Don't palm off your duties as a human being.

nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA Author

I guess water is a pollutant if it's 5 inches deep in your living room.

LiamBean profile image

LiamBean 7 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

I read somewhere that it takes six trees to offset the carbon produced by one human. Oh, and trees EMIT carbon at night.

nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA Author

@LiamBean: probably depends on the size of the tree. Do you have a reference for the trees emitting carbon at night? I'd like to read about that!

cally2 profile image

cally2 7 years ago from Paraparaumu, New Zealand

nicomp, of course trees emit CO2 at night. That's when the photosynthesis stops and only the respiration is going on. The difference between our respiration and that of plants is that during the day they take up a lot more CO2 than they give out. Thats why they are the lungs of the planet

LiamBean profile image

LiamBean 7 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

Nicomp: It was some science program the name of which I've forgotten. It's one of those pesky little details you never hear about. Of course I would assume one tree; not six.

Try this though. According to this calcluator it's more like sixteen not six trees.

I plugged in waste for one person not including cars, travel, heating, or electricity. This is just based on waste and food consumed. The bare minimum.

Here are the links to trees giving off carbon.

nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA Author

@LiamBean: with all due respect, your trees-giving-off-carbon source is WikiAnswers, which cites no source. I don't remember the respiratory cycle of trees from high school biology, but I do know that all plant matter gives up the carbon when it decomposes. Therefore our mulch piles are toxic waste sites.

LiamBean profile image

LiamBean 7 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

Nicomp: It was a quick search on google. It makes sense though. Trees use carbon dioxide to make sugar. So at some point they'd give it off as well as take it up. I'll try to find a better source.

Try this. It's a science page called "Grasses Science".

According to the write-up trees produced CO2 all the time, but during the day they produce more oxygen than CO2. The reverse is true at night when photosynthesis stops.

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jonmillett 7 years ago

I wrote a long reply on trees and carbon dioxide, but cut and pated it into a hub instead. Read it here:

Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 7 years ago from Moundsville, WV

I guess according to LimaBean the solution to global warming would to be to burn all the trees down :)

nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA Author

@Tom Whitworth: Perhaps LimaBean favors plants that thrive closer to the ground? ;)

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

Nicomp, it sounds a lot like buying a dispensation to commit sin in advance, something the Catholic Church used to peddle.

vrajavala profile image

vrajavala 7 years ago from Port St. Lucie

The global warming scammers are just so obviously interested from the whole swindle. Gore should try to be a little more subtle with his Ponzi scheme or maybe he'll end up with Bernie Madoff.

nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA Author

@Aya Katz: Send me 50 bucks and I'll plant you a tree in my back yard. For 100 you get the tree and I'll hold my breath for 1 minute.

@vrajavala: It's better than Ponzi. You just stick a tree in the ground and walk away. No one will ever want to visit their tree.

Jennifer D. profile image

Jennifer D. 7 years ago from Canada

Fascinating thread of comments to an interesting hub.

I like how certain companies will give you "carbon credits" if you pay by paypal or credit card.

Incidentally, if we really want to decrease our carbon emissions on this planet, we really need to stop producing more consumers.

That means birth control!

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

I appreciate the statistical information. I found it quite interesting and educational. Thanks for putting together this fine Hub.

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Madame X 7 years ago

mercon profile image

mercon 7 years ago

a very interesting article

Sembj profile image

Sembj 6 years ago

I've been delving into the topic carbon credits after discovering, quite by chance, just how large trading is; and the predictions of how large the market will be in future as flaws in the system are rectified and is more universally adopted. I'm at the beginning stage of my researches and your article explains many principles in a way that is far clearer than other sites I've visited. Most of the information is still quite timely although recent figures do reflect tough economic times and a dramatic fall in value of these credits, I believe but could be wrong since I'm still at the beginning of the learning curve. In any event, I now feel more confident as I continue learning -thanks

superwags profile image

superwags 6 years ago from UK

I'm deeply sceptical of many carbon credits offered typically by companies. There is a history of these being invested in forestry which is often commercial and therefore only locks up carbon for the period of time that the tree is alive.

Better credits do exist and are beginning to be far more widely used; these tend to invest in green technologies and infrastructure known to cut carbon emissions.

A project I had a little involvement in provided solar cookers to Kenya and Tanzania so that villagers would not use local forests to harvest firewood.

nicomp profile image

nicomp 5 years ago from Ohio, USA Author

"A project I had a little involvement in provided solar cookers to Kenya and Tanzania so that villagers would not use local forests to harvest firewood."

Why do we presume to tell 'villagers' in Kenya how to use their trees? If they stop by my house to insist that I stop mowing my lawn, should I acquiesce?

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