Spark Energy’s Carbon Neutral Natural Gas products provide customers the opportunity to offset the carbon emissions that result from their natural gas usage, through a reduction in carbon emissions elsewhere (see “What are carbon offsets - How do they work?” below). Spark Energy will procure verified carbon offsets to essentially “neutralize” the carbon emissions generated by your natural gas consumption. By offsetting up to 100% of your natural gas consumption, the net amount of carbon in the environment is considered “neutral.”
Carbon dioxide emissions come from burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. Carbon dioxide is thought to be the largest man made contributor to greenhouse gasses1. Greenhouse gasses are thought by scientists to contribute to the “greenhouse effect,” which refers to the slow, persistent warming of the planet. Such warming has the potential to negatively affect the earth’s atmosphere. Large amounts of carbon dioxide are emitted into the atmosphere because of our reliance on modern day conveniences and daily life activities such as: driving, air travel, electricity production and consumption, and the purchase of heavily packaged food products2. The amount of carbon emissions we create is also sometimes referred to as our “carbon footprint”.
When you purchase Spark Energy’s Carbon Neutral Natural Gas, the formulas used in EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator are used to convert your actual gas usage therms into Carbon Dioxide Equivalents. The Carbon Dioxide Equivalents tell Spark how many carbon offsets to buy in order to make your gas usage carbon neutral. The EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator can be found at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person creates 48,488 pounds of carbon every year. That’s equivalent to removing 110 trees or adding four more cars to the road every year.
There are several lifestyle choices that we can make to reduce our carbon footprint. Choosing green energy sources, such as wind and solar, buying energy efficient appliances, carpooling and recycling are all steps we can take to reduce our carbon footprint. Although we cannot directly eliminate all carbon emissions from our daily activities, we can offset them! Carbon offsets are measurable and tangible benefits granted to environmental projects that help mitigate the carbon emissions and support a sustainable environment.
A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide made in order to offset an emission made elsewhere. Carbon offsets are typically measured in tons and are achieved through funding projects that offset carbon emissions. Projects have a broad range; from forestry projects in South America to large wind turbine projects in the United States.
Purchasing carbon offsets means you are contributing to a reduction in carbon emissions that would not have happened without the financial support of the carbon offset market3. This concept is known as “additionality”.
For example, gas capture projects at landfills not only prevent the release of methane gas into the atmosphere, but they also use the captured methane to generate electricity that would otherwise be generated by burning fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas. Gas capture projects can be expensive. In order to finance the construction and operation of the project, the developer can sell the emission reductions in the form of carbon offsets.4