How much for a tonne of carbon?

This is my third post on how to carbon offset a trip from Brussels to Stockholm. In the first one I dealt with how much carbon to offset and in the second which type of offsetting to do. This post explores how much to pay for offsetting. So, once I figured out the standards part and what type of offsetting they did – the next challenge came up – what should be the price for a tonne of carbon?  This is not an easy question to answer as the market is very new, and there aren’t really any set standards on how to price carbon. What you can generally see is that CER projects will be more expensive than the VER projects (for explanation read my earlier post), as CER is priced through a market based system whereas VERs can allow their price to be set much more idependantly. 


From the 10 services I compared the price of offsetting a tonne of carbon varied from €6 ( to €27 ( This would add between €3.4 and €13.86 euros to my trip between Brussels and Stockholm


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Planting trees or building power plants?

This is my second post in a series of on carbon offsetting where I compare different providers and ways of carbon offsetting for a trip from Brussels to Stockholm. The first post was about how much carbon you need to offset for a tripThe second question comes to what type of offsetting to do. Basically there are two broad classes – the ones that are approved through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in the Kyoto protocol called Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) and ones that aren’t so called VERs (Verified Emission Reductions).  


The CERs are usually big projects that have the financial and administrative resources to go through the rigourus certification process required. VERs are generally smaller projects and can be either in developing or developed countries (CDM is only for developing countries).

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Making my carbon offset count – which provider to choose?

I often travel to Stockholm through Eindhoven, as it is quite accessible from Brussels and also has Ryanair connections. Eindhoven Airport is really working hard on their green image, with everything from onsite carbon offsetting to collecting and reusing rain water to flush toilets. The carbon offsetting caught my attention this time, and I played around with the machines that they had put up that allows you to calculate and offset your emissions.


I have read and heard a lot about carbon offsetting, and being a person who aspires to be an asset for the planet rather than a burden, I figured it would be interesting to give it try. However I wasn’t ready to simply trust the machine at the airport but rather I wanted to be a conscious shopper in the field of carbon.

So, I set out to compare and try to understand the market for consumer offsetting.

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Fasting around the world

So, from my earlier post you now know that I am observing the muslim fast during this month of Ramadan (until 30th of September). However, Muslims are not the only ones who have regular fasts, in fact some kind of abstention from food is prescribed in most religions – and gluttony, which would most accurately relate the Wests “everyday” relationship with food, is even a cardinal sin in Christianity.

Buddhists wouldn’t say they fast, however many buddhists monks actually eat only once per day – before noon. This is quite comparable to the muslim fast. The general stance of the Buddha, who tried (unsuccessfully) an almost complete fast in search for enlightenment, is to (as always) use the Middle Way as guidance and avoid eating excessively but also not starving yourself. From what I’ve read it seems spiritual Buddhist laymen and women often also observe the one meal per day during one or two days per week.

The major day of fasting in Judaism is Yom Kippur (October 9th this year) which encompasses a full 25 hour period without food or drink. Similar to why Islam practices Ramadan during the month Mohammed recieved the first parts of the Qur’an, so is Yom Kippur a mark of when Moses had recieved the second part of commandments from God.

For the full list of fasting, see this Beliefnet article.

The common thread in all fasting in religions seems to be that it is practiced in order to be able to completely focus on introspection, prayer/meditation and the higher being. By practicing self-restraint and keeping being in control of your actions you will enhance the skill that will allow you to abide by the many other rules that apply all year around.

Fasting for spiritual purity

Yesterday marked the beginning of the month of Ramadan, during which, according to Islam, is the month when the Qur’an was revealed to Mohammed. During this month most of the around 1.2 billion Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset. The fast not only means refraining from food and drink but also other things like sexual activity. All believers are encouraged to be extra mindful of God and observe the rules and commandments.


Since my girlfriend is Muslim I decided that it was a good opportunity to try how the month of Ramadan feels to pass through – while at the same time supporting her – and even though there are certain feelings that I wouldn’t be able to understand without being a person of the book myself, I do believe that the feelings related to self-restraint and focused introspection is available to anyone.

Over the next month (I am aiming for being able to keep the fast for that long) I will update you on my reflections and progress here.

Image by babasteve.