carbon offset

noun

Definition of carbon offset

: 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.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 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

1990, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About carbon offset

Time Traveler for carbon offset

Time Traveler

The first known use of carbon offset was in 1990

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near carbon offset

carbon-nitrogen cycle

carbon offset

carbon oil

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for carbon offset

Cite this Entry

“Carbon offset.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/carbon%20offset. Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!