Jet-Set Offset facilitates mileage-based donations to environmental organizations, not the direct purchase of carbon offsets or carbon credits. We have developed this alternative approach to traditional carbon offseting so that travelers can choose to support nonprofit organizations across the country working towards local, climate solutions. The work of our environmental partners moves beyond the direct mitigation of carbon emissions by also focusing on climate adaptation, resilience, energy transformation, and policy change. Through Jet-Set Offset, travelers can also choose to give to nonprofits operating certified carbon offset projects, but we are not just another carbon marketplace.
To better appreciate our donation-based model and chose how you want to give when you fly, it’s helpful to have a general understanding of the difference between carbon credits, carbon offsets, and renewable energy certificates (RECs).
Carbon credits, also known as carbon allowance, represent the legal right or permit to emit one ton of CO2. In most instances, such permits are issued to companies participating in a mandatory carbon market. If a company emits fewer tons of carbon than predicted, they can sell their carbon credits to other emitters through a regulated market.
A carbon offset also represents one ton of carbon, but it is the result of an actual reduction in greenhouse gas made through a voluntary project such as renewable energy development, methane and carbon capture, reforestation initiatives, etc. An offset project is “a specific activity or set of activities intended to reduce GHG emissions, increase the storage of carbon, or enhance GHG removals from the atmosphere." Carbon offsets can be sold on voluntary markets all over the world, but must pass verification processes to enter the market at a certain price per offset. This verification process is lengthy, research intensive, expensive, and can be cost prohibitive to smaller or nonprofit organizations. Not all offsets are equal; issues of addionality, permamence, and leakage all contribute to the impact of a singular offset purchase.
Renewable energy certificates (RECs) are instrumentally different from carbon offsets. RECs are a financial tool associated with purchased electricity that help organizations and municipalities achieve clean energy goals. RECs are purchased from renewable electricity generators and are measured in megawatt hour. The purpose of RECs is to convey purchase power of renewable electricity, expand consumers’ electricity choices, support renewable electricity development, and bring more renewable electricity into municipal power grids.