A friend of mine sent me a link to a site called Terra Pass, which lets you calculate the amount of CO2 your car emits and provides you with a way to pay for that emission by contributing to their fund. They then use this money to fund clean energy projects.
And how can you be certain the money goes where they say it does:
TerraPass is audited by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions, creator of the Green-e program and the country’s leading authority on renewable energy certification. These audits verify our purchases and help to ensure transparency and accountability.
I went into the site and based off the model/year of my car and how many miles I drive in a year, I received a recommended charge for the amount of emissions my car produces. Mine was about 40-something. I don’t think there is any value other than monetary attached to the amount you consume and how. They do make a point of stating that this does not replace the formal state emission testing you are required to do. You can also calculate your emissions based on the flights you take or the energy used in your home.
I think this is a pretty cool idea, although, it doesn’t really promote the whole conservation idea. Of course, the less you drive, fly, pollute the smaller the charge. At the very least, you can get an idea of the cost of driving or flying or consuming electricity from coal instead of an alternative source.