The Earth’s average surface temperature has increased by roughly two degrees since the 19th century, according to NASA. The problem is largely due to carbon dioxide emissions.

But when you think of going green, what comes to mind? Is it sorting your trash correctly so that less ends up in landfills? Taking shorter showers to conserve water? Composting your vegetable peels and eggshells?

While all of those are great ways to reduce your environmental impact, there’s one more thing you can do to be kinder to the planet: go carbon neutral. What does that mean, exactly? And how can you do it? Well, read on to find out!

What Is Climate Change?

Let’s start this article by explaining climate change. Climate change is the long-term alteration of temperature and typical weather patterns in a place. Climate change could refer to a particular location or the planet as a whole.

Climate change has been connected with damaging weather events such as more frequent and more intense hurricanes, floods, downpours, and winter storms. Together with expanding ocean waters due to rising temperatures melting polar ice, the resulting rise in sea level has begun to damage coastlines as a result of increased flooding and erosion.

What Does It Mean to Be Carbon Neutral?

Being carbon neutral means having a “net” zero carbon footprint. This means that the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere is equal to the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed or sequestered. When carbon emissions are offset, they are balanced by activities that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Understanding Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases emitted by an individual, family, household, organization, company, event, or product.

Greenhouse gases are those that trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect. The main greenhouse gas emitted by humans is carbon dioxide. Other greenhouse gases include methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases.

It’s important to fight climate change because it poses a threat to human health, the environment, and the economy. A carbon footprint can be measured for an entire nation, a large company or event, an individual person, or even a product.

The most common way to measure an individual’s carbon footprint is by determining the amount of carbon dioxide they emit directly and indirectly over the course of a year.

This number is then divided by the individual’s total number of carbon credits. The result is the carbon footprint. To get help with this calculation, check out this carbon footprint calculator.

How Can Organizations Achieve Carbon Neutrality?

Believe it or not, you can reduce your carbon footprint. An organization can become a carbon neutral business in various ways, including the following:

Reducing Emissions

One of the main things that businesses can do is to cut down on carbon emissions. This is done in a number of ways, such as:

  • Improving energy efficiency
  • Adopting renewable energy
  • Investing in carbon capture and storage technologies

These are just some of the ways businesses can reduce carbon emissions and become carbon neutral.

Offsetting Emissions

Another way organizations can achieve carbon neutrality is by offsetting emissions. This is done in various ways, including:

  • Investing in carbon offset projects
  • Purchasing carbon credits
  • Planting trees

Carbon offsetting is a way of reducing carbon emissions by compensating for them elsewhere.

Offsetting Emissions Through Carbon Credits

A carbon credit is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit. It represents the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas.

Carbon credits are created when a carbon-reducing project is implemented. These carbon-reducing projects can be anything from planting trees to investing in renewable energy.

They are bought and sold on carbon markets. The carbon market is a way of trading carbon credits in order to offset carbon emissions.

Investing in Renewable Energy

One of the best ways to offset carbon emissions is by investing in renewable energy. Renewable energy is generated from natural sources that are replenished on a human timescale, such as solar, wind, and water. Not only does investing in renewable energy offset carbon emissions, but it also helps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Planting Trees

We briefly touched on this in the section above, but trees play an important role in carbon sequestration, which is the process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Trees do this by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. They also help to combat climate change by regulating the Earth’s temperature. It’s estimated that one tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 pounds per year.

Does Carbon Neutral Mean Carbon Free?

Carbon neutral doesn’t necessarily mean carbon free. The two are often used interchangeably, but they mean different things. During manufacturing, carbon free products don’t release carbon into the atmosphere.

Carbon neutral products, on the other hand, may or may not be carbon free. They can release carbon into the atmosphere, but the carbon emissions are offset by carbon sequestration or carbon credits.

The Keys to Achieving Carbon Neutrality

As you can see, becoming carbon neutral takes work, but it’s worth it. Both businesses and individuals can do their part to make a difference. By reducing our carbon footprint, we can help to slow the effects of climate change and make the world a better place for future generations.

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