For 20 bucks, combat global warming |

For 20 bucks, combat global warming

Aspen Times Staff
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” The city of Aspen, through its Canary Initiative, will launch the first carbon-offsets program of its kind in the country.

The Canary Tag program, unveiled by Mayor Mick Ireland during Saturday’s ARE Day ” American Renewable Energy Day ” gives both citizens and visitors a chance to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions. Aspen is the first city in the country to offer such a program, according to Ireland.

Canary Tags are available for sale online at and are specifically to offset greenhouse gas emissions from home energy use, driving and air travel. The purchase of one Canary Tag for $20 offsets one ton of greenhouse gases, according to a city press release.

The funds from each tag sold go toward renewable energy projects, energy efficiency improvements and/or projects that absorb greenhouse gases such as tree planting. In addition, the projects the tags fund are ones that would not have happened in the region or state without the financial infusion, the city explained.

Finally, each project must be verifiable, meaning the greenhouse gas savings must be calculated and checked to make sure it meets a carbon-saving goal.

Carbon offsets are becoming an increasingly popular means to combat global warming, but with the recent rise in interest has come increased scrutiny and negative press on the concept, the city conceded. People are asking whether carbon offsets are just a “feel good” measure or whether they really do any good.

In response, the city is seeking “meaningful, quality offsets” and intends to invest in state and regional projects that have a proven record of reducing carbon emissions, according to the press release.

The Canary Tags website helps consumers calculate their greenhouse gas emissions from flying, driving and using energy at home. In the near future, the site will also offer citizens a checklist of ways to reduce their environmental impacts, says the city.

Businesses and organizers of special events can also purchase the tags; the city’s Canary Initiative staff will assist them in calculating their greenhouse gas emissions and determining the number of tags necessary to offset their impacts.

The Canary Initiative is the city’s program to combat climate change. For more information, go to