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Reducing taxable income

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Offsetting footprint

Offsetting carbon footprint


Calculating rough carbon footprint of worst-offenders:
Cars (personal, ride-share)


Reduce your carbon footprint should always be the primary focus. Fly less, carpool, and eat lower down the food chain. Carbon offsetting is valuable, but it should complement reduction efforts.
I have already calculated the carbon footprint of the worst offenders, above. This is the estimated kilograms of carbon, added into the atmosphere, directly as a result of my living on this green planet. Next, I need to find ways of removing that same amount of CO2.

Carbon-offset programs

Carbon-offset programs allows you to give money to environmental projects that are tasked with reducing carbon emissions. This could be swapping out dirty coal-fired stoves with greener ones; capturing methane emissions from sources; renewable energy project; or good old-fashioned soaking up of CO2 by planting trees. Prices are usually quoted in kilograms (or tonnes) of carbon that is being offset.
Note that carbon offset schemes differ in price. It might cost more to replace polluting stoves in a village than to plant trees elsewhere. There are also valid concerns and criticism about carbon-offset programs, but they should not overshadow the importance of these initiatives in the broader context of combating climate change. Rather than dismissing carbon offset programs entirely, it is crucial to address the concerns, improve transparency, and promote high-quality projects that deliver genuine emissions reductions.
There are many schemes. Some reputable ones include:
Gold Standard:
Climate Neutral:
Credible Carbon:
I’ve made contributions to Credible Carbon. They even issue you with a PDF certificate you can show your girlfriend.
Unfortunately, very few carbon-offset programmes will offer a tax advantage. This might be because they’re not (yet) eligible for non-profit status; your country might not recognise carbon-offsetting as a deductible expense; or lack of direct social benefit, a requirement for most tax-deductions on charitable giving. If you find a registered nonprofit (that can provide you with a tax certificate for your contribution), you will need to make sure that you can stipulate that your money should be used on carbon-offsetting programmes, to have the actual effect you’re going after.

Carbon-offset businesses

The red-blooded capitalist in me wanted to find different incentive structures that would work for my way of seeing money. Enter carbon-offset businesses, like the .
The idea is similar to “normal’ carbon-offsetting schemes, but instead of just giving money to offset a certain amount of money, you invest in crowd-supported solar projects. A bunch of investors/donors club in money, a contractor installs a renewable energy facility for a customer (a business or school), and the customer signs an agreement to purchase the green(er) energy that gets generated for a determined time period, switching from very polluting energy. The investors see a return on their investment and there is an overall reduction of carbon in the atmosphere.
It cost me ~$264 to crowd-invest in solar cells that will offset the carbon emissions from the 12 flights I have booked in 2023 (7,172kg). I opted to receive my income from the investment in South African rand, but I can also have it be paid out in Bitcoin.
Screenshot 2023-07-12 at 16.07.06.png
This option is certainly more expensive than “just” offsetting the 7,172kg I contributed with my flights with a “normal” offsetting program. There are also other risks: the Sun Exchange or the company who signed the agreement to buy the green energy might go under; a natural disaster could destroy the equipment (however, it is insured).
Despite that, this is still to me one of the most interesting ways to have incentives aligned: lowering the global carbon pollution, while giving me a financial reward for doing so. I expect to make back the $264 (and more) over the twenty years of the lease agreement with a wine farm in South Africa, but if I don’t, it is still an interesting idea. The wine farm can also buy out the equipment from investors early.

Offsetting plastic footprint

Estimate usage (water bottles, food containers. clothes, appliances, etc.)
Estimate non-recycled return
Reduce. Donate to plastic-offset charity

Offsetting chemical / other waste footprint

Do research on problem chemicals.
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