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Greening Princeton
Promoting Environmental Sustainability at Princeton University
Carbon Offsets

Wondering what you can do about global warming?  Make your drive, flight, or life carbon-neutral by calculating your carbon production and donating to renewable energy, sustainable development, methane capture, etc.  For less than 25 cents per day, you can live carbon neutral!

How you do it:

1. Reduce your emissions 

It's better to not emit the carbon in the first place, so energy-proof your home, buy a fuel-efficient car and energy efficient appliances (Energy Star), drive less, buy local food and look for other ways to reduce your emissions.  Here are 20 Simple Steps.

2. Calculate your emissions 

  • Easiest - The typical American emits about 10 tons carbon equivalent per year through direct emissions (driving, home heating, air travel, etc.).  If you want to be even more inclusive, you can add another 10 tons for your indirect impacts (energy used to make the stuff you buy, build your car, ship your food).
  • Pretty Easy - Many of the sites below offer a simple calculator which will allow you to get a good estimate of your emissions.  You'll need to get a summary of your home heat use as well as how many miles you drive and fly.
  • For the detail oriented: American Forests lets you enter in the most detailed data about your lifestyle.  If you use their calculator you can then enter that amount at the sites below.
  • For a car purchase, you can offset just your car at Driving Green.  For an individual flight, you can use My Climate.

3. Donate

There are several ways to offset your emissions.  These include supporting renewable energy, energy efficiency, tree planting and the capture of methane (an even more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) from landfills and dairy operations.  We believe that supporting renewable energy, clean development, methane capture and energy efficiency are more likely to help change our energy economy and reduce greenhouse gasses in the long run, making these options a better choice than tree planting.  Prices are currently $5-7/ton which means it's not very expensive to offset your emissions at all!
  • Carbon Fund where you can choose to support renewable energy, energy efficiency or tree planting.  We recommend the first two options.  Carbon Fund is a non-profit (501c(3)) and donations are tax-deductable.
  • Native Energy supports renewable energy and methane capture from farms.  They have special options for cars, businesses or travel.
  • e - Blue Horizons offers carbon credits for methane capture from landfills. 

4. Tell Your Friends and Politicians

Last updated July 2006