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Vancouver—Canadians heading off for summer vacation will have some help in making their holidays more environmentally friendly, thanks to a new guide ranking carbon offsets and vendors released today by the David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute. The groups are encouraging consumers to choose the highest quality carbon offsets.

Purchasing Carbon Offsets is the first guide of its kind in Canada. It ranks 14 carbon offset vendors based in Canada, as well as six international vendors, targeting Canadians who want to offset air travel and other activities that generate climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.

"We can't solve the problem of climate change without strong government action and leadership, but organizations and individuals can also make an important contribution by first reducing their greenhouse gas emissions whenever possible, and then purchasing high quality offsets to compensate for the rest," says Paul Lingl, climate change campaigner with the David Suzuki Foundation.

"The best approach is to look for carbon offsets that meet a relatively strong, independent offset standard and to buy offsets from renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects, as these are the most likely to result in high quality offsets," says Matt McCulloch, corporate consulting services director with the Pembina Institute.

While many Canadians are finding ways at home and at work to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, they are also turning to carbon offsets to deal with their remaining carbon footprint. Carbon offsets are credits for greenhouse gas emission reductions achieved by a project in another location, such as energy conservation and solar-power projects. These offsets can be purchased to compensate for emissions such as flying to a summer destination, driving a car, or heating and lighting a home or business.

The popularity and supply of carbon offsets have grown dramatically over recent years, but not all carbon offsets are worth buying. "Canadians and businesses regularly ask us which offsets they should buy. The decision can be a confusing one, and only high quality offsets can help address the problem of climate change," Mr. Lingl adds. "Our user-friendly online version of the guide takes some of the guesswork out of the selection process. It can help consumers take responsibility for their climate impact and show leadership on climate change."

Because the vendor ranking is a snapshot of practices at the time the survey was carried out, the David Suzuki Foundation and Pembina Institute encourage buyers to do some research of their own before making a purchase. To assist with this, the publication provides tips to help Canadians choose the highest quality offsets.

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For further information:

Purchasing Carbon Offsets: A guide for consumers, businesses and organizations is available at: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/reports/2009/purchasing-carbon-offsets/index.php

To arrange for an interview contact:
Kristen Ostling, Communications Specialist
David Suzuki Foundation
kostling@davidsuzuki.org, Mobile: 778-987-9907

Ian Hanington, Communications Specialist,
David Suzuki Foundation,
ihanington@davidsuzuki.org, Tel: 604-732-4228

Matt McCulloch, Director
Corporate Consulting Services
The Pembina Institute, Calgary Office
Tel: 403-269-3344 ×114 Mobile: 403-333-1347

July 16, 2009