Carbon Offsets and You

  • Kamal Clark
  • As the nation looks for ways to reduce emissions and greenhouse gases (GHGs), natural gas utilities are offering customers new, innovative tactics they can implement to reduce their carbon footprint. One of the programs you might see your utility offer is purchasing carbon offset credits.

    What Are Carbon Offsets, and How Do They Work?

    Simply put, carbon offsets are programs that allow customers to compensate for the emissions they produce by reducing emissions elsewhere. Carbon offset credits are created when activities like methane capturing and reforestation reduce or remove emissions. Those credits can then be bought, sold and traded to offset emissions from other locations.

    One carbon offset generally represents one metric ton of emission reductions or sequestration. The more credits customers buy, the greater the impact they’re having on the planet.

    With more businesses committing to reducing emissions, the carbon offset market continues to grow. In turn, carbon offset projects like coastal wetland restoration, livestock management and restorative agriculture practices are becoming more popular, and natural gas utilities are taking advantage.

    How Natural Gas Utilities Are Using Carbon Offsets

    Many natural gas utilities are offering customers the option to purchase carbon offsets through their monthly bills as a means to help offset or negate the emissions associated with their natural gas consumption. The programs are often uniquely designed to the utility and its customers when it comes to costs and impact on emissions reductions, ensuring that customers are offered the best options for their service area. Purchasing carbon offsets is an immediate and measurable way to mitigate emissions from utilities and their customers.

    Utilities that support carbon offsets and provide customers the opportunity to purchase credits will help grow the market and directly support decarbonization, facilitating global emission reductions.