Put the carbon in neutral

Shoppers at a Norway shopping center can buy back their conscience along with their groceries and give renewable energy a boost.

The Stroemmen Storsenter mall outside Oslo is selling U.N. Certified Emissions Reductions at about $30 per ton. Emissions credits come from projects producing renewable, clean energy, which help offset the greenhouse emissions created by a person when they drive their car (to the mall, for example), make a product or perform any act that creates greenhouse gas emissions. The credits sold at the Norway mall come from a wind power project in India.

According to a Reuters article, more than a third of the 1,000 CERS offered had been sold by mid-February. One CER represents one ton of CO2 emissions reductions, which is about the amount produced when you drive 3,000 miles in your car. Reuters wrote that the CERS are part of the “Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, which allows those in rich countries to invest in emissions cutting projects in developing nations and count the cuts as their own.”

Transmitting the idea of carbon offsets has been fuzzy at best. Selling emissions credits “over the counter” at the mall illustrates the concept in a way shoppers can better understand.