Emission offsetting explained

Reasons for Emission Offsetting

- Great way to take climate action TODAY

- Actively support the transition towards a low carbon society

- Lead as an inspiring example

- Decide which projects you support

- Ensure, your children will have the possibility to enjoy a planet as rich and divers as you know it

How does emission offsetting, also called mitigation, actually work?


Emission offsetting means that emissions you produce by your daily activities are reduced by somebody else, often somewhere else. A similar concept (called mitigation) is often used for developments. In that case we change the nature of the land through the development (residential, infrastructure, ...) and reduce its function for the natural world (i.e. through paving land, cutting trees, ...) In order to mitigate this impact, a similar area like the one developed will be set aside for nature in order to balance the needs of nature and humans. If we would not do that, the natural world, our foundation would run out of space and resource and with that we would loose all the benefits it provides to us as humans such like storing water, supplying drinking water, produce oxygen, grow our food, provide habitat for species and more.

Emission offsetting is very similar and possible because we all share ONE SINGLE ATMOSPHERE that is impacted and changed by Greenhouse Gases such as Carbon Dioxide or Methane. As you can see in the first graph, levels of these greenhouse gases are rising in our atmosphere. By the way, did you know that the Carbon Dioxide is actually measured here on Hawai'i Island at the Mauna Loa Observatory? You can find out more about that here.

Through the work of the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change we also know that these greenhouse gases, emitted by mankind, cause the changing (warming) of our climate as displayed in the second graph.  More graphs on their findings can be found here.

Because we all share the same atmosphere, emissions, wherever they are produced, also impact everyone. Let it be a car in Europe, an airplane in America or a factory in Asia. The emissions go into the same single atmosphere changing the climate for everyone. Therefore, it also helps everyone if we (or you, or your business) replaces fossil fuels with renewable energy or reduce their use through efficiency measures. And that's where offsetting comes into play.

Offsetting or mitigation means that somebody else reduces emissions on your behalf. Let's say you life in an apartment and do not own the rooftop to install solar panels to reduce your emissions, you can offset your emissions by paying somebody else to do it for you. By doing that, overall emissions will go down and the impacts of climate change can be reduced for everyone (and that includes you). If we continue to do this, over time, we will replace all energy currently produced from fossil fuels by renewable energy leaving NO EMISSIONS and reducing the harm climate change will cause.


Did you know that a growing number of big businesses are on the way to become emission neutral? Here are some names you might know: IKEA, Microsoft or Unilever among others.


So, are you ready to become part of the change? Calculate your emissions and offset them today. We have a number of awesome offset projects for you to choose from.

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CarbonBuddy is a Kuleana Green Business Member at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce.