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A bipartisan deal reached to avert U.S. government default. Also on our Tuesday rundown: a new report calculates the high hospital costs for employers. Plus, new legislation could help protect Florida's at-risk wildlife.

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Climate Tool Offers Ways to Offset Carbon Footprint

Forests, which capture carbon and help fight climate change, can benefit from carbon-offsetting programs. (Pixabay)
Forests, which capture carbon and help fight climate change, can benefit from carbon-offsetting programs. (Pixabay)
August 14, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY – An environmental group has set up a website that not only measures a person's carbon footprint but also shares ways to reduce and even offset that footprint.

Conservation International's Carbon Calculator provides an overview of how people's habits affect the environment, taking into account everything from commuting style to diet to the number of airline trips taken each year.

It then offers tips for reducing emissions, such as taking the bus or meatless Mondays.

But Shyla Raghav, climate change lead for Conservation International, notes it may not be possible for someone to completely neutralize his or her footprint.

"We wanted to offer everyone the possibility and the option to offset their emissions, which is essentially purchasing carbon credits from projects that have been able to demonstrate a reduction in emissions," she states.

The average American's annual footprint is 21 tons of carbon.

Conservation International is featuring a project in Kenya, where credits not only support a forest that absorbs carbon dioxide but also helps conserve an area with the highest density of elephants in the world. There also are projects in Peru and Madagascar.

In light of setbacks to the fight against climate change, such as President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, Raghav says climate change has become a personal issue for more people.

"Climate change is really a global, collective problem that each of us really needs to internalize and respond to in our own way," she stresses.

Raghav notes that citizens also have the power of their vote and can elect officials who support a shift toward a renewable energy power grid, for instance.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - UT