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A carbon offset is way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, energy use, product purchases and other sources. For individuals and smaller companies there is a voluntary market where the purchase of offsets goes towards projects that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. There is also a much larger carbon market, where governments and corporation are buy offsets in order to comply with mandatory caps on emissions, but explanation of carbon markets is beyond the scope of this site.

Basically individuals buy carbon offsets to reduce their carbon footprint. Similar to buying green power form your electric utility, you are buying the green attributes of a project and attributing them to your own life. It sounds a little vague and uncertain, but read on for a more in depth explanation and how to buy carbon offsets.
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