Should you offset your emissions? Here's a checklist

Are you thinking about offsetting your carbon footprint, but not quite sure? We've made this simple checklist to help you out!

If you agree with all of these statements, then it’s time for you to go net-zero.

1. Reducing the amount of CO2 in the air slows global warming.

This is really the fundamentals of global warming: carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, and cause the world to heat. CO2 levels are at the heart of all the scientific research. If this is a statement you disagree with, you’re going against an overwhelming majority of the world’s scientists, and specifically the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

2. We can remove CO2 by growing and protecting trees.

Trees capture carbon from the air as they grow, and release the oxygen that enables us to live. That's a pretty good deal for us humans! Just like humans, trees aren’t perfect - they can die, rot, and don’t always keep all the carbon they’ve captured - but the carbon-capturing properties of trees (and other plantlife, such as seaweed) is not in doubt. Looking to the IPCC again for guidance, every plan to mitigate climate change includes growing more trees, and chopping down fewer of the trees we have.

3. Buying (the right) carbon credits pays for removing CO2 from the air.

Carbon credits are a way of paying someone to either remove emissions from the air, or avoid putting them there in the first place. Not all credits are equal, and here I am talking specifically about high-quality, independently-verified credits from projects which grow and protect trees to capture carbon from the air. When you buy a carbon credit, you’re also paying for many different kinds of overheads, which increase the price, but are also part of the guarantee that you’re actually getting the emissions reduction that you pay for.

Buying carbon offsets always requires trust, that the carbon reductions are real and permanent, and that the verification is high-quality. There have been problems in the past, but there are now many trustworthy sources of carbon offsets.

4. Buying offsets won’t stop ME from reducing my carbon footprint directly.

If carbon credits were really expensive, then buying carbon credits might stop you doing things that reduce your carbon footprint directly. Perhaps you’re saving for an electric car: if buying offsets meant you could NEVER afford an EV, then buying offsets is likely not a good idea.

There are two reasons this isn’t a real concern. First, most ways of reducing your emissions are also great ways to save money, so you should be doing them anyway! And second, offsets are cheap enough for individuals that offsetting is very unlikely to be the real blocker to you taking more action.

5. Buying offsets won’t encourage ME to reduce my total carbon footprint.

If you know that you can offset your emissions, are you going to go and take that international holiday, and buy a new car instead of a secondhand one? If you really wouldn’t be doing these things because of the emissions they create, and now you WOULD do them because you can offset your emissions, then offsetting is a bad idea for you. Even though your carbon footprint wouldn’t increase, your consumption choices are sending more money to emissions-intensive products, and that reduces the incentive for companies to change.

Offsetting isn’t copping out: it’s owning up.

How did you do? If you agreed with these statements, and you are worried about climate change, you should be offsetting your emissions. In doing so, you will be removing carbon dioxide from the air, and reducing your contribution to global warming.

If you’re ready to start offsetting, start by making your car carbon neutral. Almost everyone needs to drive, and we can’t all go out and get EVs straight away. If you need to drive a car, going neutral is the best thing that you can do.

Go Neutral buys high-quality, independently-verified, 100% Australian offsets. The money you spend goes to regenerating bushland. You get a Go Neutral sticker for your car, which shows that you’ve taken responsibility for your emissions - and helps others do the same.

Get your Go Neutral sticker, and go carbon neutral today!