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 MillerPublishers Weekly10 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 OrmanO: The Oprah MagazineFall 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 GoreAn Inconvenient Truth2006

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First Known Use of carbon offset

1990

in the meaning defined above

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