Because carbon dioxide is evenly mixed in the atmosphere, concentrations are approximately the same worldwide, regardless of whether you measure them in Australia or New Jersey. Thus, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can be done anywhere in the world, with the same effect. In some instances, it may make more sense to reduce your carbon footprint by investing in forests in Brazil and wind farms in Iowa rather than making expensive on-site reductions. Recognizing that, agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol allow such investments in lieu of on-site carbon reductions. However, not all carbon offsets are created equal, and some are more legitimate, effective, and efficient than others. Properly created and registered offsets can allow you to reduce overall emissions more cost effectively, but great care must be taken to avoid purchasing offsets that do not actually reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. The ACUPCC Guidelines for Carbon Offsets Investment is a great place to start to understand how the legitimacy of offsets may be determined. The proposed offset standards have been released by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, and the Western Climate Initiative. EcoShift consultants offer services in both developing and investing in carbon offsets. We can help evaluate the impact of different offsets, as well as examine the legitimacy and validity of proposed offset schemes.