Giving Compass' Take:

• Umair Irfan discusses how carbon offsets have become a wildly popular and controversial way to fight climate change.

• How can buying carbon offsets become more affordable? How do you make a good carbon offset?

• Purchasing these carbon offsets also helps to reforest cities. 

This odd mélange of companies, celebrities, cities, countries, and organizations have all made commitments to curb their contributions to climate change, if not eliminate them entirely. And they have one tactic in common: buying carbon offsets.

For companies like Amazon and Delta aiming to be carbon-neutral, offsets help provide the “net” in their “net-zero emissions” goals. And together, these buyers are fueling a multibillion-dollar market for one of the more popular, and more controversial, tactics to limit greenhouse gases.

Following a wave of global youth climate strikes, an alarming United Nations report showing that the best-case scenario for climate change is slipping out of reach, and a wave of devastating climate-linked disasters from Brazil to Australia, there’s been a spike in interest in carbon offsets. In particular, a growing number of people, fueled by peer pressure and shame, are reckoning with their emissions from air travel.

“In [late 2019], there was over a 700 percent increase in businesses, organizations, and individuals taking action using [our] travel offset tool,” said Jodi Manning, director of marketing at Cool Effect, a nonprofit that sells carbon offsets and invites travelers to “wipe away the baggage of pollution.”

The booming market for offsets falls into two broad categories: voluntary and compliance. Voluntary offsets are the ones people and companies buy at their own discretion. Compliance offsets are used to meet legally binding caps on carbon in schemes like the European Union’s Emissions Trading System.

Read the full article about carbon offsets to negate your climate pollution by Umair Irfan at Vox.