In 19 days I will be in Boston's Logan International Airport ready for 14 hours and 40 minutes of sitting in a Boeing 747. I will fly 7,513 miles going 895km/h over the Atlantic Ocean towards a part of the world I have never been to, to attend a very important international conference on climate change and hopefully work towards ultimately halting the threat of global warming. It might seem ironic for somebody from the United States to fly 7,513 miles (14,815 miles round trip) to Nairobi, Kenya, burning a kerosene/paraffin oil-based fuel and emitting 5.78 tons of the green house gas Carbon Dioxide directly into the troposphere, all for the purpose of mitigating climate change. Thankfully my environmentalist spirit can rest somewhat assured that my carbon footprint will not be quite so large. I recently purchased carbon offsets from a company called NativeEnergy.
Under federal law when "clean" energy produced through wind farms is introduced into the electricity grid it has priority over energy created through unsustainable means, thus displacing the "dirty" energy created by fossil fuel burning energy suppliers. The electricity grid can only have a certain amount of energy flowing into it. When energy created through sustainable means, such as wind power, is introduced into the grid, the people who operate the grid turn down the less sustainable energy generators to compensate. By purchasing carbon offsets through NativeEnergy I am assured that an amount of sustainable wind farm energy equal to the energy it took to create my 5.78 tons of Carbon Dioxide will be introduced into the grid over a 25-year period. This is the process of offsetting green house gas emissions. The $12 it took to buy these carbon offsets will help fund new construction of sustainable wind generators.
14,815 miles is a long way to travel, and 5.78 tons is a lot of Carbon Dioxide to emit. Carbon offsets aren't the answer to stopping global warming in its tracks, but it sure helps.