carbon offset


Definition of carbon offset

  1. :  an action or activity (such as the planting of trees or carbon sequestration) that compensates for the emission of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere A carbon offset occurs when an individual company or organization directly or indirectly (by funding projects in other locations) removes greenhouse gases from the atmosphere or prevents a certain quantity of greenhouse gases from being released. — Tyson Miller, Publishers Weekly, 10 Mar. 2008; also :  a quantifiable amount of such an activity that may be bought, sold, or traded especially as part of a system to reduce pollutants in the atmosphere Purchase carbon offsets. For every pound of carbon dioxide your home releases, you can fund an environment-friendly endeavor that reduces the amount of greenhouse gases released into the air. — Suze Orman, O: The Oprah Magazine, Fall 2007 When you purchase carbon offsets, you are funding a project that reduces greenhouse-gas emissions elsewhere by, for example, increasing energy efficiency, developing renewable energy, restoring forests, or sequestering carbon in soil. — Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006

Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:

  • 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!


First Known Use of carbon offset


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up carbon offset? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


feeling or affected by lethargy

Get Word of the Day daily email!