3. To Offset or Not to Offset

Funded projects: construction of small hydroelectric generators in Honduras, cleaner stoves in Rwanda, electricity generation from mustard crop residues in India

Carbon offsets offer a way to balance out your pollution by investing in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. They’re a form of trade. When you buy an offset, you fund projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in direct proportion to the amount of GHG you’re creating while in flight. It doesn’t really matter where GHG reductions take place, just as long as fewer emissions enter the atmosphere.

Critics of carbon offsetting say that spending to offset emissions merely allows polluters to feel better about their emissions and discourages working to reduce them. I must admit, it does feel a bit like a papal dispensation. Still, I am going on safari, and I’m not going to swim to Africa to do it. I’m going to fly. Offsetting my carbon emissions by supporting the right projects is better than doing nothing.

I’ll be purchasing offsets.