How carbon offsets work
People buy carbon offsets to offset the carbon they are responsible for creating when they buy airplane tickets, etc. The most common type of offset involves the planting of trees. When someone contributes in this way they are hoping that the trees which are planted in their name will absorb CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow. This creates the following questions:
- How much money does it take to plant a tree including all the bureaucratic and administrative costs?
- How much carbon does each tree absorb from the atmosphere compared to how much the land would absorb if the tree was not planted?
- How long will the tree live for and what will happen to the carbon after the tree dies?
- How much of the carbon absorbed by the tree will actually be sequestered out of the atmosphere long term? In other words, how much of the carbon will be released in forms such as methane as it decomposes and how much will remain in the soil long term? If there is a forest fire how much of the carbon would be returned to the atmosphere?
There are many different companies offering different sorts of carbon offsets. They all have their positive and negative aspects and they all seem to involve some aspect of uncertainty.
A more reliable and permanent way to offset your carbon footprint is to produce charcoal and bury it (un-mine™) or pay someone to un-mine™ for you.
If you upload a video of production and sequestration of biochar to your carbonface.org profile you will receive a credit proportional to the amount of carbon you take out of the atmospheric cycle. You can then sell this token or keep it as an investment to be cashed out later at a higher price.
If you wish to pay for carbon to be sequestered on your behalf you can buy Chartons™ from others who have already un-mined™ carbon. You can choose someone selling the lowest cost carbon (10 CDN$ a ton is the minimum) or you can choose to pay a higher price per ton to an un-miner™such as Chou Chou near Sapa, Vietnam.
By supporting someone like Chou Chou, you are helping to reduce the huge health risks that her family takes when they do not use the biochar stove. You are also improveing the quality and quantity of her crops and the health of her pigs.