As of November 2021, I estimate my carbon footprint to be roughly 4 tons of C02/mo plus 106 tons of one-time C02 debt and 642 tons of historical CO2 debt. Every month, I spend $1,500.00 on carbon offsets that remove 1.4 tons of CO2 and prevent 36.7 tons of CO2-equivalent from being released.
I am currently offsetting 35% of my monthly emissions, have paid down 31% of my historical emissions, and have a balance of 106 tons of one-time emissions debt.
This is where it goes.
High Quality Removal Projects
I have high confidence these projects permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that otherwise would not have been removed without creating emissions elsewhere.
Climeworks $500/mo for 0.5 tons
Climeworks builds DAC (Direct Air Capture) machines that use geothermal energy to suck carbon dioxide out of the air and store it the bedrock below. These are by far the most robust and effective offsets available, however they are extremely costly and the technology is only effective in very specific geographic areas.
Charm Industrial $500/mo for 0.9 tons
Charm Industrial uses a process called BCCS (Biomass Carbon Capture and Storage) to turn plant residue into an oil which is then injected underground. This is one of the most promising technologies for scaling carbon offsets, but is still quite expensive.
High Quality Avoidance Projects
I have high confidence these projects permanently prevent greenhouse gasses from being released that otherwise would have been released due to inaction.
Tradewater $500/mo for 36.7 tons
Tradewater searches out refrigerants (like say and old refrigerator in a dump), collects the chemicals, and destroys them before the powerful greenhouse gasses can be released into the atmosphere. Refrigerant Management has long been a staple of Project Drawdown.
I have hopes that these projects either temporarily prevent greenhouse gasses from being released, or provide a framework toward a carbon-negative process. I have invested or otherwise donated to these organizations, and I like what they’re doing.
WorldTree has patented a specific variety of Empress Tree, notable for its extremely fast growth rate. They partner with farmers to grow these trees and harvest them for lumber and biomass sales. If combined with BECCS (Bioenergy and Carbon Capture and Sequestration), this could result in a durable market that continually sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. There are significant logistical challenges to make this process actually carbon negative.
Cool Earth works with rainforest communities to stop deforestation, helping them build financial resilience so they are under less pressure to cut their forest under a crisis. Preventing the removal of rainforests is a critical avoidance strategy, unfortunately rainforests can always be removed in the future, and existing rainforests do not sequester new carbon at scale.
TREES works with farmers around the world to implement silvopasture methods (trees + crops) to build soil and grow food without chemical fertilizers. Carbon is sequestered in the soil life as well as in the trees grown — unfortunately the carbon can be released if the land is no longer farmed, and sequestration happens only once for any given piece of land.
- From birth to 2019 (when I was 35), my emissions averaged 2 tons / mo
- From years 2020 onward (because of this thing), my emissions average 4 tons / mo
- Building my new house will emit 75 tons
|Source||Total Debt||Type of Offset||Total Paid|
|1984-2020||936 ton||Avoidance||293.6 ton (31%)|
|2021+ Debt||31.2 ton||Removal||0 (0%)|
|Tahoe House Build||75 ton||Removal||0 (0%)|
|Recurring||4 ton/mo||Removal||1.4 ton/mo (35%)|
At current prices, it would cost an additional $9,630.00 to pay off my historical carbon emissions through avoidance offsets, $45,000 to pay off my one-time debt in removal offsets, and I would need to increase my monthly subscriptions by $1,560/mo to reach net zero.
You can read more about these calculations in Net Zero Ish.
Last updated December 2021.