Claire Max's Carbon Credits Page


Despite the fact that the US does not participate in the Kyoto Accords to reduce global CO2 emissions, it turns out that a few adventuresome companies are now making it possible for individuals to offset the CO2 emissions of their personal cars and electricity use.

How does this work?

First you calculate the amount of CO2 that your car or your household dumps into the atmosphere each year. Then these new companies, via payments from you, offset your carbon emissions either by investing in an equaivalent amount of renewable energy or by purchasing carbon credits traded on the Chicago Climate Exchange.

Two of these companies are

TerraPassTerraPass logo CarbonFund logo

There are others as well. I can't judge the financial or managerial quality of these firms, but I found the concept interesting enough to sign up with one of them. Typical charges to offset the CO2 emissions of a passenger car are between about $50 and $100 per year, depending on how gas-guzzling your car is. This seems to me like a very modest investment in the future of the world's climate.

Environmental economists point out that the prices for carbon emissions offsets that are charged by TerraPass, Carbonfund, and Certified Clean Car are below those at which carbon credits are currently traded in Europe and Asia. They say there are at least two explanations for this: 1) the EU and Japan have signed on to mandatory CO2 reductions via the Kyoto Protocol, and 2) carbon markets in the US (the Chicago Climate Exchange, for example) are newer and less mature than those in the rest of the world, since participation is voluntary

Note: the opinions expressed on this web page are those of the author, not those of UC Santa Cruz

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