Carbon offsetting


It’s payback time. Whenever you travel by air, car, train or ship you are responsible for burning fossil fuels. This releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The problem is that we have increased the CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases to the extent that it leads to global warming and climate change. That means a growing threat to life as we know it on planet earth.

Yet for just a few pounds several organisations offer to help you to "neutralise" or “offset” the carbon emitted by your travel. Giving them money can help to fund sustainable energy projects.

For instance an estimate for one person’s carbon emissions for London-New York return flights is about 1.5 Tonnes of CO2 and the cost to offset could be £21.

Sounds great! Take as many holidays as you like. Hand over out some cash. Problem solved. End of guilty conscience.

But watch out! Carbon offsetting isn’t that simple. In fact it’s a minefield and some say it’s just a load of hot air, even a rip off.

So check out the questions to ask and make sure your money is well spent.

Then read on for details of some carbon offsetting providers that meet the government's planned new standards and others which have been independently given top ratings.

Plus there are links for carbon calculators that work out your CO2 emissions using various means of transport and suggest how much money to give.