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How Planting Trees Offsets Carbon

August 17, 2022

Planting trees helps reduce your carbon footprint

The clearing and burning of forests accounts for about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is approximately equal to all of the fossil fuels burned in the United States every year and is more than the annual carbon footprint of the entire world’s transportation sector. The Environmental Defense Fund believes that “slowing or stopping deforestation is a near-term, cost-effective option for significantly reducing global emissions.” The EPA estimates that carbon dioxide makes up about 81% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Planting trees is an excellent way to offset the carbon emissions you have generated through your energy consumption. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, here are 5 facts about energy consumption:

  1. One gasoline-powered passenger vehicle driven for one year = 76.7 tree seedlings grown for 10 years
  2. 100 gallons of gasoline burned = 14.7 tree seedlings grown for 10 years
  3. 10 MCF (10,000 cubic feet) of natural gas burned = 9.1 tree seedlings grown for 10 years
  4. 100 therms (10,000,000 BTUs) of natural gas = 8.7 tree seedlings grown for 10 years
  5. 1000 kilowatt-hours of electricity used = 7.2 tree seedlings grown for 10 years

 

What is your carbon footprint?

A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gasses (including carbon dioxide, methane and others) that are generated by our actions. Usually, the bulk of an individual’s carbon footprint will come from transportation, housing and food production. The average American’s annual carbon footprint is a staggering 50,000 pounds of carbon equivalent emissions from everything we do and buy. Understanding your impact is an important way to comprehend how your personal behavior affects climate change. A carbon footprint calculator will measure things like your electricity & gasoline consumption, your home heating usage, travel mileage and consumer shipping totals.

 

How do carbon offsets work?

Carbon offsets work through supporting tree planting services and carbon offsetting projects to neutralize your emissions and mitigate your impact on the planet. Carbonfund.org Foundation offers several types of tax-deductible carbon offset options tailored specifically to your needs.

  1. Lifestyle Carbon Offsets are an overall way to mitigate your annual or lifetime footprint
  2. Vehicle Carbon Offsets target the impact of your car based on fuel efficiency
  3. Air Travel Carbon Offsets neutralize emissions based on flight mileage
  4. Household Carbon Offsets are based on the square footage of your home
  5. Special Event Carbon Offsets reduce emissions from travel and hotel stays

 

Planting trees will sequester carbon in the future

Forests sequester carbon by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and transforming it into biomass through photosynthesis. In one year, a mature tree will absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen in exchange. Forests mostly store carbon in trees and soil which is why it is so important to not only plant new trees (reforestation) but to keep existing forests standing (preservation). Reforestation is an important step toward getting our climate back under control in the future. Simply put, reforestation is the process of planting trees in areas where they were once cut down or setting aside land for natural regeneration. Your tree planting donations will make a tremendous difference in these areas that have been ravaged by clearcutting and resource mismanagement for decades. Forest preservation is another key component to fighting global warming. This means keeping existing forests intact to reduce deforestation. In addition to helping to capture carbon emissions, forest preservation can also have added benefits to the native soil, wildlife and local communities for many years down the road. Carbonfund.org has many forestry projects around the globe to help in the conservation effort. Many of these projects are in Brazil with others being located in Panama and in the United States. Supporting tree planting projects is an excellent way to ensure that we are leaving a healthier planet for future generations to come.