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Due to the growing concern of climate change, many individuals, families, communities, politicians, and business leaders are searching for endeavours that can reduce their respective carbon footprints. There are several approaches that can be attempted in order to slow the effects of climate change and to personally reduce one’s carbon output. Donations to wildlife foundations, recycling, and planting trees are some of many options people have opted for in the past, and are all commendable options. But the truth remains that with the current energy demand of our global community, coupled with the guarantee for growth, we need to further the advancement of clean energy production in order to truly reduce the global carbon output. This is largely the justification for the current push by many to phase away from the reliance on fossil fuels to provide power to their homes, businesses, and communities.

The desire to supply a locations power through renewable resource is one thing, but to be able to do this efficiently is a much loftier task. Depending on the renewable resource one prefers, the site must come equipped with several factors in place. For example, for a solar array to be optimized the location must be in a shade-free area, facing south at an angle somewhat close to the locations latitude. These specific factors largely reduce the amount of possible hosts for renewable energy projects, leaving a large percentage of those who would like to receive their energy from a renewable resource unable to do so. This is where the idea of carbon offsets and energy segments come to life. Both renewable energy segments and carbon offsets are methods of investing money into renewable energy projects. There exist many similarities between the two of these, but as well a few features that make them distinct from one another. The main idea is the same: you are buying the rights to the emission reductions from a renewable energy project. The main distinction is that with an energy segment, the buyer receives a return on their investment; much like the renewable resource being in their own backyard.

Investments into renewable energy are being utilized globally by many of the world’s most powerful corporations in an effort to compensate for their companies’ large emission rates and energy loads. These companies include: Facebook, Google, and dozens of other multinational corporations making distinctive efforts to reduce their environmental impact. These aforementioned companies have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into solar farms in California and Arizona, wind farms in Iowa, and several other large renewable energy projects within the United States. It is encouraging to see the business leaders of our world leading the charge on renewables, but once again, the majority of the population does not live within the financial means to invest such significant sums of money into environmental initiatives. This, once again, brings to life the idea of carbon offsets and energy segments. Instead of investing thousands of dollars into a solar array or a wind farm, companies can either add a couple cents to their power rate, or invest incrementally towards a renewable project. This enables individuals to support these initiatives without digging too deep into their pockets, and as well allows businesses of any size to invest without deteriorating their margins.

The main contrast between the two is a very key distinction. When investing in a renewable resource, you are investing in an energy generating device. This means that your money will be making money. With an investment into carbon offsets, you will never see any return on your investment; it will be much more like a donation. With an investment into an energy segment, you will receive a real return on your investment. To put it simply, both efforts will help reduce your carbon footprint, but one will be in the form of donation, and the other, an investment.

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