11 Best Nature-Based Carbon Offsets (Complete 2024 List)

11 Best Nature-Based Carbon Offsets (Complete 2024 List)

By
Grace Smoot

Read Time:21 Minutes

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Partnering nature-based solutions with carbon offsets could have a big impact on mitigating climate change because nature-based carbon offsets focus on the storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in plants, soils, and the ocean, which are capable of storing massive amounts of CO2. So, we had to ask: What are the best nature-based carbon offsets?

The best nature-based carbon offsets are offered by The Arbor Day Foundation, REDD.plus, SeaTrees, and Husk, which offer reforestation, afforestation, REDD+, blue carbon, and agricultural carbon offset projects.

Keep reading to learn more about the best nature-based carbon offsets, how these carbon offset projects work, what their respective offsetting costs are, and what your best way would be to offset your carbon emissions. At the end of the article, we’ll also share with you what the biggest carbon offsetting limitations are and why reducing your carbon footprint is more effective than offsetting it.

Here’s What All the Best Nature-Based Carbon Offsets Have in Common

Carbon offsets are reductions in carbon emissions that are used to compensate for carbon emissions occurring elsewhere. They are measured in tons of CO2 equivalents and are bought and sold through international brokers, online retailers, and trading platforms on what is known as the global carbon offset market.

“Carbon offset: a way for a company or person to reduce the level of carbon dioxide for which they are responsible by paying money to a company that works to reduce the total amount produced in the world, for example by planting trees”

Oxford Dictionary

Carbon removal is the process of eliminating carbon from the atmosphere. It is also referred to as negative emissions or carbon drawdown.

“Carbon Removal: the process of removing CO2 from the atmosphere”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Carbon removal can be split into 2 categories, technological and natural carbon removal

  • Technological removal: This involves specialized technology that extracts carbon from the atmosphere. 
  • Natural removal: Also known as carbon sequestration. Carbon is stored naturally in vegetation (forests), soils, and oceans, also referred to as our carbon sinks. 

Nature-based carbon offsets are those that focus on the long-term storage of captured or removed carbon in plants, soils, and the ocean, which are capable of absorbing massive amounts of our GHG emissions.

Carbon offsets that are commonly classified as nature-based carbon offsets include:

Related: Are you interested in learning more about the big picture of nature-based carbon offsets? Check it out in this article here: “What Are Nature-Based Carbon Offsets and How Do They Work? The Big Picture”

These Are the 11 Best Nature-Based Carbon Offsets in 2024

Below are our favorite nature-based carbon offsets (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

Nature-Based Carbon OffsetsQuick Facts
The Arbor Day FoundationAbout: Carbon offset purchases support afforestation (and reforestation) projects in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (US), Nicaragua, and Peru.
Costs: $40 per 1,000kg of CO2
REDD.plusAbout: Carbon offset purchases support UNFCCC-verified REDD+ projects around the globe. REDD.plus is a central registry and exchange for REDD+ Result Units, a type of carbon credit. 
Costs: $16 per ton of CO2 
SeaTreesAbout: Carbon offset purchases support coral reef/kelp forest/watershed restoration as well as mangrove tree planting.
Costs: $22 per 1,000kg of CO2
HuskAbout: Husk converts rice husks into biochar, fertilizers, and biopesticides via smokeless pyrolysis, preventing the re-emission of carbon into the atmosphere. 
Costs: Husk uses resellers to sell its solutions. Visit Patch’s website to learn more about pricing. 
EcologiAbout: Carbon offset purchases support third-party certified reforestation/afforestation carbon offset projects including those in Madagascar, Mozambique, Bolivia, Morocco, Senegal, and Uruguay.
Costs: $6.04 per 1,000 kg of CO2 offset
One Tree PlantedAbout: Carbon offset purchases support reforestation/afforestation projects including those in the US, Romania, Iceland, and Africa.
Costs: $20 per 1,000kg of CO2
The Ocean FoundationAbout: Carbon offset purchases support the SeaGrass Grow, seagrass planting project.
Costs: $20 per 1,000kg of CO2
Wildlife WorksAbout: Carbon offset purchases support third-party certified carbon offset projects including The Kasigau Corridor, Mai Ndombe, and Southern Cardamom REDD+ projects in Kenya, Cambodia, and Colombia respectively.
Costs: $20 per ton of CO2
Vi AgroforestryAbout: Vi Agroforestry specializes in poverty reduction and environmental improvement through agroforestry and improved farming practices. 
Costs: $28 per 1,000kg of CO2 offset
CarbofexAbout: Carbofex’s pyrolysis technology takes waste biomass from urban or agricultural sources and turns it into biochar, which can then be used to enhance agricultural soils or to produce renewable energy.
Costs: Carbofex uses resellers to sell its solutions. Visit the Puro.earth website to learn more about their respective pricing.
TerrapassAbout: Carbon offset purchases support the reforestation, afforestation, and REDD+ projects in Peru, Canada, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the US.
Costs: $16.51-$17.63 per 1,000kg of CO2
1

The Arbor Day Foundation: Inspiring People to Plant, Nurture, and Celebrate Trees

Screenshot of the Arbor Day front page

The Arbor Day Foundation was founded in 1972 by John Rosenow to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of Arbor Day, the oldest environmental holiday. Today, they are a nonprofit that has expanded to 55 countries and has planted over 500 million trees. They aim to both plant trees and help people understand their value.

“Let’s grow a movement”

The Arbor Day Foundation

Carbon offset overview: The Arbor Day Foundation has partnered with GreenTrees®, Taking Root, and Ecotierra to support reforestation/afforestation projects in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (US), Nicaragua, and Peru, respectively. These projects restore degraded agricultural lands, replenish soils, and resort forest canopy. 

Carbon offset effectiveness: The Mississippi, Nicaragua, and Peru offset projects are certified according to the American Carbon Registry, Plan Vivo, and the Verified Carbon Standard, respectively. The Arbor Day Foundation’s offset projects also adhere to one or more of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Carbon offset costs: It costs $40 per 1,000kg of CO2 offset.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit Arbor Day’s website to purchase your carbon offsets.

2

REDD.plus: A Central Registry and Exchange for REDD+ Result Units 

Screenshot of the REDD.plus front page

REDD.plus was founded by the Coalition for Rainforest Nations to give individuals and businesses the ability to purchase carbon emissions reductions generated by verified REDD+ projects. Today, they manage the creation of and platform on which REDD+ carbon credits are sold in order to reduce deforestation and prevent further degradation.

“Let’s take action to fight the climate emergency together”

REDD.plus

Project overview: REDD.plus is a project of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, which consists of over 50 rainforest nations. The basis of REDD.plus is the REDD+ Result Unit (RRU), which is a type of carbon credit. A country’s national government develops a REDD+ strategy, the results of which are independently verified and published on a central hub. Serialized RRUs can then be purchased on the REDD.plus platform or CBL markets. Every RRU purchased saves 2 rainforest trees, and over 90% of your purchase goes back to the countries and local communities that are protecting rainforests around the world. 

Carbon offset effectiveness: A country’s national government issues each RRU to prevent leakage and double-counting, REDD+ results are independently verified and published on the UNFCCC Info Hub, and each RRU is retired once it has been sold

Carbon offset costs: Each RRU costs $16 and offsets 1 ton of CO2 emissions. RRUs are available for purchase as a one-time or monthly purchase. 

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit the REDD.plus website to purchase your RRUs. 

3

SeaTrees: Regenerating Blue Carbon Coastal Ecosystems

Screenshot of the SeaTrees front page

SeaTrees was founded in 2018 as a program of the non-profit organization Sustainable Surf to plant, protect, and restore blue carbon coastal ecosystems. Today, they have 16 active projects worldwide involving mangrove planting, kelp/seagrass/coral reef restoration, and watershed protection.

“We can come together + act now to restore coastal ecosystems.”

SeaTrees

Carbon offset overview: SeaTrees is a nonprofit environmental organization that restores coral reefs, plants mangrove trees, restores kelp forests, and restores watersheds in the US, Indonesia, and Kenya. Their custom blended carbon offset product, the SeaTrees Token, combines carbon credits with innovative blue carbon projects. Each SeaTrees Token purchased sequesters 1 ton of CO2 via Verified Carbon Standard certified offset projects, plants 4 mangrove trees, and creates 1 square foot of kelp forest.

Carbon offset effectiveness: SeaTrees projects are verified according to the Verified Carbon Standard and contribute to multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals. Two of their planting partners also include Eden Reforestation Projects, which is included in our list of the Best Charities for Reforestation, and Wildlife Works, which is included in our list of the Best REDD+ Carbon Offsets.

Carbon offset costs: It costs $22 per 1,000kg of CO2 offset

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit their website to purchase your blue carbon offsets.

4

Husk: Biochar-Based Fertilizers

Husk was founded in 2017 by Heloise Buckland and Carol Rius based on the idea that the private sector can combat social inequality and tackle climate change. To date, they have sequestered over 750 tons of carbon on their mission to create a world with living soils, healthy crops, fair wages, and climate justice. 

“Living soils. Healthy crops. Higher margins”

Husk

Project overview: Husk converts rice husks into biochar, fertilizers, and biopesticides via smokeless pyrolysis, preventing the re-emission of carbon into the atmosphere. When biochar-based fertilizers are spread on crops, the sequestered carbon within the products is buried into the soil where it will remain for hundreds of years. The process generates carbon credits that are sold to individuals and businesses looking to lower their carbon footprint.

Carbon offset effectiveness: Husk’s biochar plant follows European Biochar Certification (EBC C-Sink) standards, one of the highest standards for carbon removal. 

Carbon offset costs: Husk uses resellers to sell their solutions. Visit Patch’s website to learn more about pricing. 

How to get your carbon offsets: You can get your Husk biochar carbon offsets through the Patch website.

5

Ecologi: Where Carbon Reduction Partners with Reforestation/Afforestation

Screenshot of the Ecologi front page

Ecologi was founded in 2019 by Elliot Coad, Lucy Jack, and Alex Price as an answer to the question “what if I put the money from my morning coffee into climate action”? Today, they have funded over 57 million trees, avoided over 2 million tons of carbon, and continue to enable everyday people to tackle the current climate crisis via reforestation and carbon offsetting projects.

“For less than the cost of a cup of coffee per week, you can become climate positive.”

Ecologi

Project overview: When you purchase carbon offsets through Ecologi, trees are planted as a bonus, because it takes years for trees to mature and sequester carbon in large quantities. 

Examples of reforestation projects include mangrove planting in Madagascar, reforestation in Mozambique, protecting and restoring Andean forests in Bolivia, and saving endemic fruit tree species in Morocco. Examples of afforestation projects include the restoring degraded land in Senegal and forest plantation on degraded grassland in Uruguay projects.

Carbon offset effectiveness: Ecologi’s reforestation/afforestation projects are certified by either the Gold Standard or the Verified Carbon Standard. Their reforestation/afforestation partners include Eden Reforestation Projects, One Tree Planted, and Trees for the Future, all of which are included in our list of the Best Charities for Reforestation

Carbon offset costs: It costs approximately $6.04 per 1,000 kg of CO2 offset. Ecologi has a personal offset plan where you choose how many trees get planted (12, 24, or 48) for a price ($10.50, $21, or $42 per month). And if you scroll further down, you can plant 1 extra tree in the US for only $1.20 per month

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit Ecologi’s website to select your personal carbon offset plan and get your reforestation carbon offsets.

6

One Tree Planted: A Non-Profit Focused On Global Reforestation/Afforestation

Screenshot of the OneTree Planted front page

One Tree Planted was founded in 2014 by Matt Hill as a way to make it easier for individuals and businesses to aid in environmental conservation and reforestation across the globe. Today, they have planted over 100 million trees in more than 47 countries.

“One dollar. One tree. One planet.”

One Tree Planted

Carbon offset overview: One Tree Planted is a nonprofit environmental organization that plants trees in North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific. Example reforestation offset projects include reforestation in areas affected by wildfires in California and restoring native flora in Romania. An example afforestation offset project includes afforestation in Iceland, which aims to reforest a 150-hectare area previously degraded by overgrazing. One of their more ambitious projects is AFR100, which aims to restore 100 million hectares of deforested & degraded land in Africa. 

Carbon offset effectiveness: One Tree Planted’s offsets are certified by the Climate Action Reserve and are retired on a monthly basis

Carbon offset costs: One Tree Planted offers 3 offset options that offset 10, 20, and 30 tonnes of CO2 at a cost of $20 per 1,000kg of CO2.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit their website to view their plans and purchase your carbon offsets.

7

The Ocean Foundation: A Community Foundation for the Ocean

Screenshot of the The Ocean Foundation front page

The Ocean Foundation was founded by Wolcott Henry in 2003 as a community foundation committed to reversing ocean degradation globally. Today, they protect our oceans and coastal ecosystems through conservation initiatives, community foundation services, research and development, and blue carbon offsets.

“Our focus is the ocean. And our community is every one of us who depends upon her.”

The Ocean Foundation

Project overview: The Ocean Foundation has a carbon calculator for flights, households, and businesses as well as a direct carbon offset. Purchases support the planting of seagrass. Seagrass meadows are an important carbon sink and store 11% of the ocean’s buried carbon despite only accounting for only 0.1% of the world’s seafloor.

Carbon offset effectiveness: Their seagrass carbon offsets are certified by the Verified Carbon Standard.

Carbon offset costs: It costs $20 per 1,000kg of CO2 offset.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit their website to get your blue carbon offsets.

8

Wildlife Works: A Market-Based Conservation Model

Screenshot of the Wildlife Works Front Page

Wildlife Works was founded in 1997 by Mike Korchinsky to help communities transition from extraction-based to conservation-based livelihoods. Today, they develop and manage REDD+ projects in Kenya, Cambodia, and Colombia to combat deforestation and create sustainable livelihoods. 

“Biodiversity-driven. Community-centered. Ecosystem-based.”

Wildlife Works

Project overview: Wildlife Works has developed the Kasigau Corridor, Mai Ndombe, and Southern Cardamom REDD+ projects in Kenya, Cambodia, and Colombia, respectively. Altogether, they protect over 2.4 million acres of rainforest and create jobs and other livelihoods other than poaching and deforestation. 

Carbon offset effectiveness: The Kasigau Corridor project is verified by the CCBS at gold level, the Mai Ndombe project is verified by Verra, and the Southern Cardamom project is verified by Verra and the CCBS at gold level. Each of the 3 projects also adheres to multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Carbon offset costs: Carbon offsets cost approximately $20 per ton of CO2.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit Wildlife Works’ webpage to view their REDD+ projects and purchase your carbon credits.

9

Vi Agroforestry: Tropical Agroforestry

Screenshot of the Vi Agroforestry front page

Vi Agroforestry is a Swedish development organization founded in 1983 initially as a tree planting organization. Today, they work with local partners in East Africa to provide agricultural development projects aimed at improving livelihoods.

“For climate and people, now.”

Vi Agroforestry 

Project overview: Vi Agroforestry specializes in poverty reduction and environmental improvement through agroforestry and improved farming practices. They currently operate in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Their Kenya Agriculture Carbon Project (KACP) is the first soil and agricultural carbon project in Africa, which helps 30,000 farmers battle food security and combat climate change. Carbon credits generated from the project benefit small-holder farmers. 

Carbon offset effectiveness: The KACP is certified by the Verified Carbon Standard

Carbon offset costs: It costs approximately $28 per 1,000kg of CO2 offset.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit their website to calculate your carbon footprint and get your carbon offsets.

10

Carbofex: Converting Waste Biomass Into Biochar

Screenshot of the Carbofex front page

Carbofex is a Finnish biochar company founded in 2016 by Sampo Tukiainen and Veikko Kantero to lower atmospheric CO2 levels long term. Today, they have captured almost 10 million kg of CO2, which equals the carbon footprint of over 2,000 average citizens.

“Unique, state-of-art, turnkey solution for biochar and bio-energy co-production”

Carbofex

Project overview: Carbofex’s pyrolysis technology takes waste biomass from urban or agricultural sources and turns it into biochar, which can then be used to enhance agricultural soils or produce renewable energy. Through this process, Carbofex generates carbon credits certified that are then sold through the Puro.earth trading platform. Each kg of biochar they produce is capable of binding approximately 3.5 kg (7.7 lbs) of CO2 to the soil.

Carbon offset effectiveness: Carbofex’s process complies with the European Biochar Consortium (EBC) standard. And to be listed on Puro.earth, Carbofex also had to undergo third-party independent verifiers who audit carbon removal project facilities and issue CO2 Removal Certificates (CORCs).

Carbon offset costs: Carbofex uses resellers to sell their solutions. Visit the Puro.earth website to learn more about their respective pricing.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can get your Husk biochar carbon offsets through the Puro.earth website.

Terrapass: A Variety of Carbon Offsets for Individuals and Businesses

Screenshot of the terrapass front page

Terrapass was founded in 2004 by Dr. Karl Ulrich to reduce as many carbon emissions as possible via the use of education, online tools, carbon offsets, and renewable energy. Today, they provide verified carbon offsets and renewable energy credits for renewable energy, landfill gas capture, and forestry projects.

“Restore the balance.”

Terrapass

Carbon offset overview: Terrapass has many nature-based offset options for individuals and businesses. Terrapass rotates its projects but currently or has supported the Cordillera Azul National Park REDD+ Project, Québec Afforestation/Reforestation project, Katingan Peatland Restoration and Conservation Project (blue carbon), NIHT Topaiyo REDD+ Project, and the Klawock Heenya Improved Forest Management Project.

Carbon offset effectiveness: Terrapass only purchases carbon offsets that have been generated within the last 5 years, and they use the Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry, and the Climate Action Reserve to help ensure transparency and quality in the creation, quantification, and verification of offset projects.

Carbon offset costs: It costs approximately $16.51-$17.63 per 1,000kg of CO2 for individuals, and $16.99 per 1,000kg of CO2 for businesses.

How to get your carbon offsets: You can visit their website to purchase your carbon offsets.

How Effective and Efficient Are Nature-Based Carbon Offsets

In terms of effectiveness, nature-based carbon offsets reinforce our terrestrial and marine carbon sinks and protect soil health; however, they can also lack permanence, may not reduce emissions immediately, and do not reduce your own carbon emissions.

In terms of efficiency, nature-based carbon offsets are relatively cost-effective, can preserve existing forests and marine ecosystems, and can continue to avoid CO2 emissions after project lifespans; however, they also face carbon storage capacity limitations, and may not yet be scaled to compensate for our global emissions.

Nature-based carbon offsets are effective at mitigating climate change because:

  • Reforestation, afforestation, REDD+, and agricultural offsets reinforce forests, which are one of our largest terrestrial carbon sinks
  • Blue carbon offsets reinforce coastal and marine ecosystems, which are some of our largest marine carbon sinks
  • Agricultural (e.g., biochar, agroforestry, and avoided grassland conversion) offsets can improve soil structure and nutrient cycling

However, nature-based carbon offsets can also lack effectiveness because: 

Nature-based carbon offsets are efficient at reducing CO2 emissions because:

  • Reforestation, afforestation, REDD+, blue carbon, and agricultural offsets are some of the most cost-effective methods of carbon emission reduction. 
  • REDD+ and blue carbon offsets can efficiently protect existing forests and marine ecosystems.
  • Reforestation, afforestation, and blue carbon offsets can continue to reduce carbon long after projects have been completed.

However, nature-based carbon offsets can also lack efficiency because: 

However, nature-based carbon offsets do not reduce your own carbon emissions, which can lead to greenwashing. This occurs when emissions are only offset and not reduced from the source, and the consumer is deceived into thinking they are offsetting their emissions but in reality, they are not. This is why we should first reduce our emissions before relying on offsets.

Related: Are you interested in learning more about how effective and efficient nature-based carbon offsets are? Check out the full article here: “How Effective and Efficient Are Nature-Based Carbon Offsets? Here Are the Facts”

What Are The 6 Pros and 6 Cons of Nature-Based Carbon Offsets

Nature-based carbon offsets are a cost-effective method to reinforce our terrestrial and marine carbon sinks, protect soil health, preserve biodiversity, and help maintain the water cycle. These offsets also allow us to reduce carbon emissions in ways we wouldn’t be able to accomplish individually.

However, nature-based offsets can also lack permanence and additionality, face carbon storage capacity limitations, may not yet be scaled to compensate for our global emissions, and may not reduce carbon emissions immediately. They also do not reduce your own carbon emissions, which can lead to greenwashing. 

Related: Are you interested in learning more about the pros and cons of nature-based carbon offsets? Check out the full article here: “Nature-Based Carbon Offsets: All 6 Pros and 6 Cons Explained”

What Are the 6 Pros of Nature-Based Carbon Offsets

Nature-based carbon offsets have various pros that make them effective at reducing carbon emissions.

6 Pros of Nature-Based Carbon OffsetsQuick Facts
#1: Nature-based carbon offsets reinforce our terrestrial carbon sinksNature-based offsets involving reforestation, afforestation, REDD+, and agriculture reinforce forests, which are one of our largest carbon sinks. 
#2: Nature-based carbon offsets reinforce our marine carbon sinksNature-based offsets involving blue carbon reinforce coastal and marine ecosystems, which are one of our largest carbon sinks.
#3: Nature-based carbon offsets protect soil healthNature-based offsets involving agriculture (e.g., biochar, agroforestry, and avoided grassland conversion) can improve soil structure and nutrient cycling. 
#4: Nature-based carbon offsets preserve biodiversity and help maintain the water cycleNature-based offsets involving reforestation, afforestation, REDD+, blue carbon, and agriculture preserve biodiversity, which in turn helps maintain clean water, air, and a healthy food supply.
#5: Nature-based carbon offsets are relatively cost-effectiveNature-based offsets involving reforestation, afforestation, REDD+, blue carbon, and agriculture are some of the most cost-effective methods of carbon emission reduction. 
#6: Nature-based carbon offsets allow us to reduce carbon emissions in ways we wouldn’t be able to accomplish individuallyNature-based offsets allow us to reduce emissions from activities where sustainable alternatives are not yet widely available. 

What Are the 6 Cons of Nature-Based Carbon Offsets

Understanding the drawbacks of nature-based offsets is important in order to effectively mitigate climate change.

6 Cons of Nature-Based Carbon OffsetsQuick Facts
#1: Nature-based carbon offsets often lack permanenceNature-based offsets involving reforestation, afforestation, REDD+, blue carbon, and agriculture often lack permanence because they are reversible solutions.
#2: Nature-based carbon offsets can lack additionality Nature-based offsets involving REDD+ often lack additionality because what would have happened without REDD+ intervention cannot be measured exactly.
#3: Nature-based carbon offsets face carbon storage capacity limitationsCarbon storage capacity limitations prevent nature-based offset efforts from being scalable enough to compensate for all of our carbon emissions.
#4: Nature-based carbon offsets are not yet scaled to compensate for our global emissionsNature-based offsets involving reforestation, afforestation, REDD+, blue carbon, and agriculture are not yet scaled to compensate for the billions of tons of GHG we emit annually. 
#5: Nature-based carbon offsets may not reduce carbon emissions immediatelyNature-based offsets involving reforestation, afforestation, blue carbon, and agriculture may not reduce carbon emissions immediately because of the time needed to plant trees and for them to reach maturity. 
#6: Nature-based carbon offsets do not reduce your own carbon emissions, which can lead to greenwashingNature-based carbon offsets do not reduce your own carbon emissions, which can lead to greenwashing. 

How Can Nature-Based Carbon Offsets Help Mitigate Climate Change

Climate change is a severe and long-term consequence of fossil fuel combustion. Nature-based carbon offsets can help mitigate climate change because they eliminate fossil-fuel-derived carbon from our atmosphere which, if left untreated, can remain there for tens of thousands of years and exacerbate the negative effects of climate change.

How is Climate Change Defined

Climate change is arguably the most severe, long-term global impact of fossil fuel combustion. Every year, approximately 33 billion tons (bt) of CO2 are emitted from burning fossil fuels. The carbon found in fossil fuels reacts with oxygen in the air to produce CO2

“Climate change: changes in the earth’s weather, including changes in temperature, wind patterns and rainfall, especially the increase in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere that is caused by the increase of particular gasses, especially carbon dioxide.”

Oxford Dictionary

Atmospheric CO2 fuels climate change, which results in global warming. When CO2 and other air pollutants absorb sunlight and solar radiation in the atmosphere, it traps the heat and acts as an insulator for the planet. Since the Industrial Revolution, Earth’s temperature has risen a little more than 1 degree Celsius (C), or 2 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Between 1880-1980 the global temperature rose by 0.07C every 10 years. This rate has more than doubled since 1981, with a current global annual temperature rise of 0.18C, or 0.32F, for every 10 years. 

As outlined in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, we must cut current GHG emissions by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050

How Do Carbon Offsets Generally Help Mitigate Climate Change

Levels of carbon in our atmosphere that cause climate change have increased as a result of human emissions since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in 1750. The global average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today registers at over 400 parts per million. Carbon offsets can help prevent these levels from increasing even more.

When you hear the words “carbon offset”, think about the term “compensation”. Essentially, carbon offsets are reductions in GHG emissions that are used to compensate for emissions occurring elsewhere

Carbon offsets that meet key criteria and verified project standards, are additional and permanent, and are part of projects that are carried out until the end of their lifespan have the best chance of reducing carbon emissions and therefore reducing climate change. 

When we offset CO2 we also slow the rate of global temperature rise, which in turn minimizes the effects of climate change. 

How Do Nature-Based Carbon Offsets Specifically Help Mitigate Climate Change

Nature-based solutions in general can specifically help mitigate climate change because they eliminate atmospheric carbon, which when emitted, can remain in our atmosphere for a long period of time

Reforestation, afforestation, and REDD+ offsets specifically help mitigate climate change because they plant more trees, and trees remove CO2 from the air as they grow. By increasing the number of trees on our planet, we increase the amount of carbon they are capable of storing. The more carbon our forests can sequester, the less carbon there is in our atmosphere. 

Blue carbon offsets specifically help mitigate climate change because they protect coastal and marine ecosystems, which are capable of absorbing more CO2 per acre than rainforests and at a rate 10x greater. 

Agricultural carbon offsets such as biochar, agroforestry, and avoided grassland conversion can specifically help mitigate climate change because they reduce CO2 emissions in one of the biggest industries worldwide.

Final Thoughts

The Arbor Day Foundation, REDD.plus, SeaTrees, and Husk are the best nature-based carbon offsets. Ecologi and One Tree planted offer reforestation/afforestation offsets, The Ocean foundation offers blue carbon offsets, Wildlife Works offers REDD+ offsets, and Vi Agroforestry and Carbofex offer agricultural offsets. Terrapass offers a wide range of nature-based offsets for individuals and businesses.

Nature-based carbon offsets strengthen our natural carbon sinks. But for all of the good carbon offsets can instigate, they should not be seen as the only solution to climate change. They are effective at reducing CO2 in the short term, but in the long term, they fail to reduce CO2 enough. 

When used in conjunction with direct CO2 reduction measures, carbon offsetting can be much more effective. We should reduce our own carbon footprint as much as possible first, and only then choose the most effective nature-based carbon offsets.

Stay impactful,

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