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How Tech Innovation Is Helping Individuals Clean Up Their Carbon Footprint

Typically, the simplest way to change your individual carbon footprint is to change your actions. Even small, voluntary steps like adjusting your thermostat, reducing meat consumption, and saying no to fast fashion can make a big difference in reducing your carbon emissions. But what do you do when you can’t tweak your lifestyle anymore or when some things are hard to decarbonize, like catching a flight? 

>>>READ: Consumer Preferences for Climate-Friendly Products are Booming

That is when individual carbon offsets can make a big difference. And thankfully, technology is empowering consumers to make their own choices to reduce their carbon footprint. In fact, one app is allowing individuals to implement personalized offsetting directly from their phones. 

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Klima is one organization that helps make this possible. The Certified B Corporation—which is a business that meets certain environmental and social standards—uses a simple digital platform to help people assess their personal habits and get a rough estimate of their annual carbon emissions. Users can then choose to offset based on certain percentages or ideal cost per month. 

For example, I am a vegetarian who limits single-use waste as much as possible and currently powers my house with renewable energy, but who travels via plane and car frequently. To offset 120 percent of my carbon footprint (or, in other words, to become carbon ‘negative’ by 20 percent), it costs me roughly $26 a month. Users always have the freedom to offset more or less, or to adjust based on ideal monthly cost. 

Klima then takes monthly offsetting costs and puts them toward their various carbon sequestration projects. The projects are currently grouped around three key goals: planting more trees, kickstarting solar projects, and reducing air pollution by providing clean cookstoves to families in developing nations. Kilma uses rigorous testing to make sure that each project the organization supports is effective, produces measurable results, and is sustainable for longevity. For carbon offsets to be a useful tool in a purely voluntary market, emissions monitoring and verification are imperative protocols.

“We have structured Klima’s offset portfolio around three clear and crucial impact areas that we’ll all need to tackle in order to solve climate change in a sustainable, efficient, and just way,” says the organization. “By combining natural, technological, and social solutions, we empower holistic climate action that revives our ecosystems, pushes green innovation, and benefits communities.”

>>>READ: The Case for Thinking Small on Environmental Solutions

Klima’s results speak for themselves. Since being founded in 2013, Klima has neutralized more than 100,000 tons of carbon. The platform is utilized by users in 74 different countries, and Klima members have made 100,000 unique contributions through the app. 

Even one platform like this should be considered a success story of the market meeting a need. While it is certainly a popular choice, Klima is not unique in providing a platform for those looking for individualized carbon offsetting. Organizations like GoClimate, Ecologi, CarbonClick, and many more offer carbon-offsetting plans for individuals. 

Free marketeers know that individual responsibility is an incredibly important thing. Thanks to technological innovation, working to offset our carbon footprint through voluntary changes in behavior is much easier.

Kelvey Vander Hart is a native Iowan, a member of the American Conservation Coalition, and a communications specialist at Reason Foundation.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

Copyright © 2020 Conservative Coalition for Climate Solutions

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