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Offsetting Our Carbon Emissions: Year Two

from Keith Ervin, Seattle First Baptist Church, Seattle, WA

For the second year, Social Justice Ministries and individual members of Interfaith Climate Action - First Hill have purchased carbon credits on behalf of Seattle First Baptist Church (SFBC).

In the latest purchase brokered by Evergreen Carbon, we bought credits from the Crow Lake Wind Emissions Reduction Project — a project outside Chamberlain, South Dakota, that converts wind energy into electricity for the Midwest regional power grid. Carbon emissions offset by this purchase equal the amount of carbon that SFBC and our tenants put into the atmosphere through our use of natural gas and electricity in 2015.

Social Justice Ministries appropriated $500 for the purchase, and members of Interfaith Climate Action paid the remainder out of their pockets. (Evergreen Carbon has asked, for proprietary reasons, that the exact price not be publicly disclosed.) Interfaith Climate Action, a joint project of SFBC and Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue, recommended purchasing credits from the Crow Lake Wind project after studying several options.

We were pleased to be able to support clean energy use in the region where the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has resisted the Dakota Access Pipeline. SFBC’s 140 metric tons of carbon use in 2015 was up substantially from 2014, before the former Minor Hospital was remodeled and put into use by nonprofit tenants. Carbon emissions in 2014 were offset by purchase of credits from a utility-scale solar farm in China.

Every pound of carbon we add to the atmosphere accelerates the global warming that threatens the future of civilization. During the coming year, Interfaith Climate Action - First Hill will continue to monitor the church’s carbon emissions and will consider again buying carbon credits. We will work with church leadership to find ways to reduce or eliminate our carbon pollution. We will also look at the changes we can make in our own lives.

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