1. How does carbon offset tackle climate change?

Carbon offset should never be the first response to climate change. We all have a responsibility to measure our carbon footprint and reduce it as best we can. However this will always leave us with some kind of footprint. That’s why offsetting plays a vital role.

After reducing your carbon footprint to a sensible level, carbon offsetting creates funding for projects which reduce emissions even further elsewhere. Because emissions disperse throughout the atmosphere, your net carbon footprint becomes smaller even if the offset happens somewhere else.

Clear offsets through carbon reduction projects in the developing world for three reasons.  Firstly it help those who are least able to help themselves.  Secondly it achieves the most reduction for the money you spend.  And lastly it is the scheme created for and chosen by almost every government in the world under the Kyoto Protocol.

2. What makes Clear different?

Clear uses the most accurate carbon calculators available on the web, and our our offsets are the highest quality available, such as CERs and Gold Standard VERs.  Our free downloadable Carbon Audit Tool is approved by the Quality Assurance Standard for Carbon Offsetting.

Clear is extremely efficient, with no wage bill, and carefully minimised overheads.

Our website offers unusual features, like multiple flight input and the ability to store your own information and create your own carbon footprint webpage.

We are the only offset company to offer offsets for motorcycles, scooters, commuting and skydiving.

3. How do we know that we actually get what we pay for?

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 the UK Emissions 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.

Our free downloadable Carbon Audit Tool is approved by the Quality Assurance Standard for Carbon Offsetting.

4. Why don’t you plant trees to stop climate change?

Planting trees may be a nice thing to do, but it isn’t a good way to offset carbon. 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 offsets to happen, and if the tree dies and rots, or worse is burnt, the same amount of CO2 is released straight back into the atmosphere.

5. Why are you more expensive than some other offsetters?

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.

6. I don’t live in the UK, can I still use the site?

Yes!  Simply change the currency to your own country (look for your flag at the bottom of the page) and use the site normally.

7. Why are you not a charity?

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.

8. How do you calculate how much CO2 I produce?

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. More detail is available below for the enthusiasts.

Cars: Most cars manufactured in the last six years are already in our database, but we also thought it was important to be able to calculate older cars too, so Clear has built a proprietary regression model based on almost 6000 different vehicles to calculate what any older or non-listed vehicle should produce in terms of CO2.

Motorbikes: Motorbikes are not yet subject to CO2 emissions measurement, so Clear built a proprietary engine to calculate carbon footprints. Based on owner reported fuel consumption figures from over 260 different models of motorbikes, it is then converted into the regression model which powers the calculations on the site.

Commuting: This is another Clear first. We have taken TfL (Transport for London) reported figures for CO2 emissions and calculated average speeds for different modes of transport. Its often difficult to know how far you have traveled when you are on the tube for example, so we have used length of journey for greater ease of use and accuracy.

Flights: Using fuel consumption data developed from DLR (Germany’s national research centre for aeronautics and space) on the Airbus 340 we have created a model which calculates how much carbon dioxide each person on an average flight is responsible for.

Homes and buildings: We have used the recently published DEFRA figures for the levels of CO2 produced in the creation and transmission of the various sources of energy in our homes.

Skydiving: Clear has recorded the fuel consumption for 3 typical types of planes used by skydive dropzones. The average fuel burn per trip on AVGAS (100 octane fuel) was recorded, with the jumper capacity, and an estimation of the average fill. Clear then applies the AVGAS carbon conversion factor provided by DEFRA to calculate the CO2 per jumper. The average figure of 21kg / jump for totally full planes was used, and an assumed average 90% fill rate to gives a “real” CO2 per jumper of 23.3kg. Clear would like to acknowledge the help of Steve Baker in creating this calculator.

Carbon Audit Tool: This tool uses QAS-approved carbon conversion factors. Where the UK Government have not released a recommended factor, we have used the next most commonly acknowledged one.

9. I’ve offset my carbon with Clear, can I use the Clear Carbon Neutral Activity Logo on my website?

We’ve put all the information you need here: the Clear Guide to Carbon Neutral Activity Certification. You must tell us in advance if you plan to use the Clear Carbon Neutral Activity Logo.

You must also follow the Green Claims Practical Guidancedocument to make sure your marketing is compliant with current best practice.

10. What about carbon offsets for skydiving?

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 – please get in touch at  [email protected] for up-to-date pricing.

11. What is a CER?

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.