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Curbing Carbon with Carbon Offsets

Carbon Offsets

Amtrak encourages passengers to take practical steps to reduce carbon emissions where possible. When you have reduced all you can, consider carbon offsetting to mitigate the remaining greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon offsetting is the act of reducing an equal amount of carbon somewhere else to counterbalance the carbon emissions from your energy-using activities, your "carbon footprint." Your offset contributions support a variety of quality projects, such as renewable energy development, reforestation and energy efficiency technologies.

What is a Carbon Footprint?

A carbon footprint is a measure of the effect you have on the climate in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases you produce (measured in units of carbon dioxide). Many of your daily activities generate carbon emissions, which have an impact on the health of the environment.

By measuring your carbon footprint with tools like a carbon calculator, you can get an idea of what level of emissions your lifestyle generates and where you can take action to reduce your individual impact on the environment.

Calculate Your Rail Travel Carbon Footprint

Enter the city and state of your origin and destination, along with the number of passengers to get started.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

As we go about our daily lives, each activity we participate in puts carbon dioxide into the air and contributes to an increase in greenhouse gasses. Yet, there are steps we can take to reduce our impact. For example, traveling by rail also contributes less per passenger mile to greenhouse gas emissions than either cars or airplanes. According to U.S. Department of Energy data, Amtrak is almost 20 percent more efficient than domestic airline travel and 30 percent more efficient than auto travel on a per-passenger-mile basis.

In addition to its energy-saving initiatives, Amtrak has committed to a 6 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from our diesel locomotive fleet from 2003-2010 (from the baseline years of 1997-2001) with our participation in the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). Members of the Exchange make voluntary commitments to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Those, like Amtrak, who reduce emissions below their target have surplus allowances to bank or sell to other members who emit above their target.