January 5, 2020

Offsetting our carbon dioxide

Note: this is the second part of my notes about how I offset my family’s expected CO2 footprint for 2020. The first part describes how we calculated the footprint.

I decided to use the UN Carbon Offset Platform because I’d seen it referenced a few times on other sites when I was looking at calculators. It allows you to look through lots of projects and select ones based on various criteria such as country or continent as well as by local impact on things like jobs and welfare. Just as important (to me) was that this platform ensures 100% of the contribution goes directly to the projects I pick.

I spent some time looking through these and decided that rather than put all my offsetting on one project I would build a portfolio of projects: partly because this just felt more interesting to me, but also to spread the risk of any dodgy projects.

I initially tried to create the portfolio on the site by adding more than one offset project to my basket, but unfortunately it’s not allowed, so I opened up a spreadsheet and started collecting them together there and working things out within the rough budget I set myself.

The six projects I selected were in South America, Asia and Africa and are doing things like replacing traditional cooking fires with fuel efficient cook stoves, using rice husk as biomass fuel for electricity generation in Cambodia along with helping to build hydroelectric and wind power projects.

The portfolio approach meant that I was able to offset more than the 35 tonnes of CO2 that I originally planned and in the end we’ve offset 50 tonnes.


carbon usability


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Calculating my family’s carbon footprint Short version: I used 4 different calculators to try and get an understanding of how big my family’s carbon footprint is so that I can buy some