Carbonfund/Terrapass redux

So for some reason my posts about Terrapass [website] and Carbonfund [website] got some unexpected attention. People from both organizations wrote in to clarify points in my post. To recap, and highlight the differences between the two:

  • Terrapass and Carbonfund have the same goal: to offset people’s carbon emission by spending money on processes that will reduce the amount of carbon emitted by industry.
  • The way the two organizations spend their money is different, leading to a difference in price (Terrapass is a little more expensive). Here’s the breakdown:
  • Carbonfund is non-profit, while Terrapass is for-profit (explanation)
  • Carbonfund has a more flexible set of payment options (you can count in your home energy use as well as vehicle energy use, for instance), but Terrapass has a friendlier interface that makes it easier to figure out how much you ought to offset.

First I heard from Eric Carlson, from Carbonfund. He let me know that the two organizations do essentially the same things, but in different proportions. He also pointed out the price difference, and the fact that Carbonfund is non-profit. Then I heard from Tom Arnold, from Terrapass, who clarified that the reason Terrapass is more expensive is because of a heavier emphasis on wind energy. I am very appreciative of both representatives for taking the time to comment here.

Conclusion: if you want to offset your carbon emissions in the most cost-efficient way possible, you are probably better off with Carbonfund. If you want to pay attention to where each tonne goes, compare the use ratios of the two organizations, and Terrapass might be more to your liking (if you like the heavier emphasis on wind power, for example). If you can’t decide, I’d suggest a hybrid option: pay Terrapass for your car, and Carbonfund for your home.

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