As I mentioned in a Previous Post, for my birthday my friends Bill and Marie gave me a years worth of carbon offsets. For those of you not familiar with carbon offsets, here is a definition: A carbon offset is a service that tries to reduce the net carbon emissions of individuals or organizations indirectly, through proxies who reduce their emissions and/or increase their absorption of greenhouse gases. A wide variety of offset actions are available; tree planting is the most common. Renewable energy and energy conservation offsets are also popular, including emissions trading credits.
The intended goal of carbon offsets is to combat global warming. The appeal of becoming "carbon neutral" has contributed to the growth of voluntary offsets, which often are a more cost-effective alternative to reducing one's own fossil-fuel consumption. However, carbon offsets are not without controversy, with some environmentalists and economists questioning the overall benefits of the practice.
There are many companies and organizations offering carbon offsets, but all carbon offsets are not created equal. This WSJ article talks about how carbon offsets work and mentions a few of the players. My friend Rip also sent me a link to a report on carbon offset providers. So by all means, buy carbon offsets or give them as a gift, but do a little homework first to make sure you are spending your money wisely! Stay tuned for more!