It goes to a variety of certified projects that either reduce the amount of greenhouse gases (ghg) emitted into the atmosphere or projects that sequester ghg in soils, or more commonly, trees. Here is a link to an organization that acts as an intermediary between the investor and the project managers (http://www.carbonfund.org/projects). A few examples of certified projects that the Carbon Fund offers include capturing the methane gas from landfills and converting it into heat energy for greenhouses and reforesting a region in Central America that had been cleared for agriculture and grazing. I hope this helps.
There are many different levels of carbon offsets. There are the world standards established under the Kyoto Protocol, which force countries to pay for Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) from the global compliance market that was established under the Kyoto Protocol as well. The process of collection for emissions is the “Clean Development Mechanism” under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In the US, since we never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, there are some companies that are engaged with CERs, but the US carbon offset program was established by the American Clean Energy and Security Act, passed in 2009. There is also the lowest level of carbon offsest which is individually purchased offsets in the forms of solar panels, new trees, etc.
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