Carbon Offset FAQs

How does carbon offsetting work?

Carbon offsetting should never be the only response to climate change. We all have a responsibility to measure our carbon footprint and reduce it as best we can. However with the best will in the world, reduction takes time and our infrastructure and supply chains are still carbon intensive. So as we start to reduce our residual carbon footprint is always significant and carbon offsetting is the only way to take responsibility for it.

As you reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible, carbon offsetting invests in projects which reduce emissions even further elsewhere. Because emissions disperse throughout the atmosphere, your net carbon footprint becomes smaller even if the reduction happens somewhere else.

Clear invests in carbon reduction projects in the developing world for three reasons.  Firstly it helps those who are least able to help themselves.  Secondly it achieves the most reduction for the money you spend.  And lastly the first world is responsible for most global warming anyway, so we feel it is fairer to invest in the developing world given the moral perspective.

Clear is the only carbon offset provider offering only QAS-certified carbon offsets. We use the most accurate carbon calculators available on the web, and our projects are carefully vetted to meet QAS criteria which go above and beyond standards such as the Clean Development Mechanism and the Gold Standard.  Our downloadable Carbon Audit Tool for business is free.

Clear is extremely efficient, with carefully minimised overheads. No dividends have been taken from the company since we were founded in 2005. Any profits are reinvested into the company – whose sole aim is to tackle climate change.

Clear offsets your emissions through high quality carbon reduction projects such as Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) verified by the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism.

These are retired through a central registry within 12 months which prevents them from being resold or double-counted.  We buy in bulk to get a good price, and pass that discount on to our customers.

All the carbon offsets we sell, including our free downloadable Carbon Audit Tool, are certified by the Quality Assurance Standard for Carbon Offsetting.

Planting trees is a great thing to do, and deforestation has definitely contributed to the problems the world faces. But planting trees isn’t an honest way to offset emissions that are already in the atmosphere and will be for the next hundred years and beyond. In fact Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund issued a joint statement in 2006 pointing this out. Trees do absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, but it takes decades for the sequestration to happen, and if the tree dies and rots, or worse is destroyed in forest fires for example, the same amount of CO2 is released straight back into the atmosphere. Mitigation strategies are often inadequate. We have a limited carbon budget left – on current estimates this runs out around 2030 – before run away events start to occur, like methane being released from melting permafrost. Its great to plant trees, but it won’t solve the climate change crisis quickly enough. Carbon offsets have to be meet higher criteria to be effective.

Actually, we’re not.  Many offset companies use lower grade carbon offsets.  For example, many are not independently audited, or use trees (not a good idea).  They are cheaper, but they don’t measure up to the standards proposed by the Quality Assurance Standard.

Clear is one of the very cheapest carbon offsetters for high quality carbon reduction projects.  We achieve this by continuously striving to reduce our overheads to maximise our efficiency.  So actually we’re not expensive, we represent very good value.

No!  You can buy our offsets online from any country and choose from several major international currencies. Everyone is free to offset with Clear.

Because we are not asking our customers to donate to a worthwhile cause.  We do not believe that charitable status would make us either more efficient or more accountable, which is ultimately what we strive for.

Instead Clear is structured as a private company. We believe that this is the best way to deliver a cost-effective, high-quality service, exert the greatest influence, and ultimately deliver the most sustainable response to climate change.

In short, with great care. We have developed highly accurate mathematical tools and broken down your footprint into the contribution made from each source, so you can see what’s really going on. We include emissions caused getting fuel from ‘well to tank’, radiative forcing factors and uplifts for real world conditions. Our calculation methodologies are available to read through for the enthusiasts.

The permission for use of Clear’s Certification Marks is conditional on:

1. Completing and paying for the offset product(s) provided by Clear and covering, in full, the time period over which the permission for use is sought.

2. Following Environmental Claims Guidance to make sure communications are compliant with current best practice.

3. Permission from Clear in advance.

4. Usage in one of two contexts:

A. On specific internet pages whose primary purpose is to clearly and accurately describe specific activities and timelines offset using Clear products. The Mark must link to Information clearly describing the following must be provided directly adjacent to the mark:

• nature of activities offset
• time period offsets relate to
• steps taken to reduce first, OR

B. On internet pages or emails which link to a page complying with context A above.

5. All Clear certification marks must link to either:

• OR
• A page on your site complying with Context A.

6. The Clear Certification Mark must always have space around it to ensure clarity and standout. The ’C’ from the Clear logo defines this spacing area. This is a minimum, use more space where possible. We need to make sure the Clear Certification Mark is always legible. The minimum size for the Certification Mark is 100 pixels wide. Avoid complicated or busy backgrounds.

7. Use of our html code snippets linking to the correct graphic files on our servers. We will provide this when permission is granted. Please contact us for further details.

Clear is the only company in the world to provide accurate carbon calculation and Quality Assurance Standard for Carbon Offsetting compliant carbon offsets for skydiving and parachute jumps.

We can offset multiple jumps at very reasonable prices – check out our skydiving offset.

Clear offsets your emissions by buying and retiring high quality certificates such as Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs). So what is a CER you might ask? A CER is a certificate which is issued every time the United Nations prevents one tonne of CO2 equivalent being emitted through carbon projects registered with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). CDM Projects include for example replacing coal fired electricity with clean technology, or methane capture from landfill sites. The CDM ensures that each carbon project would not have happened anyway (additionality), and independently establishes a baseline estimating the future emissions in the absence of each project (more info). Once a project is registered and implemented, the CDM issues just enough CERs to cover the monitored difference between the baseline and the actual emissions.

Several reasons. Because airlines calculate emissions as if they happen on the ground. But of course planes produce their emissions at altitude where the effects are magnified due to contrails, direct injection into the atmosphere and several other factors. The IPCC explains it all in detail here. Clear uses an RFI (radiative forcing index) of 1.9 to allow for these effects and more accurately cover the real emissions caused by your flight. It costs more but it reflects what’s really happening. Airlines also usually ignore other important factors such as the well-to-tank component which can add up to 20% to the total.