Companies like Atmosfair offer CO2 compensation for flights. The car club “Mobile in Germany” is now starting a similar project for car drivers, in which trees are being planted – primarily in local forests.

Would you spend 200 or 300 euros if you could drive your diesel or petrol engine with zero CO2 emissions? Michael Haberland, President of the “Mobil in Deutschland” car club, asked this question to motorists on social networks a few months ago. The willingness to pay would not be very great, Haberland had to determine after the mood test. Perhaps it’s no wonder, after all, drivers are already being charged three different climate taxes: When they fill up, they have to pay the eco-tax and, since 2020, an additional CO2 tax, as well as the CO2-based vehicle tax, which has just been significantly increased .

But Haberland is now daring an approach that is unusual for an automobile club: Similar to Atmosfair, the “Green Balanced GmbH” he founded organizes compensation for CO2 emissions from driving by offsetting the individually produced amount by planting and tending new trees. Trees are known to bind CO2, but they also have to grow for many years to do so. While with all the CO2 taxes no one really knows what really happens with them, the project promises concrete climate protection.

In contrast to Atmosfair, where most compensation projects take place in Asia or Africa, “Green Balanced” focuses on local forests: The car club works together with the Munich-based agricultural company BayWa. The money for the compensation then flows into one of BayWa’s climate forest projects. The focus is on planting new trees and reforesting forests in Germany. According to the club, the buyer will also receive a certificate according to the so-called Gold Standard and a sticker for the car.

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Michael Haberland sees the project as an opportunity to take the car a little out of the line of fire in the climate debate: “Every driver who loves his mobility but also wants to stand up for a climate worth living in can reduce the CO2 that is emitted each year by the Travel with your own car arises, compensate voluntarily from now on. In this way, the existing vehicle can also be driven CO2-neutral without being restricted in its mobility,” says the Autoclub boss.

But how much does climate-neutral driving cost? After all, not only do a lot of trees have to be planted, they also have to be cared for over decades so that the CO2 produced really “disappears” or is converted into oxygen and biomass. Annual costs depend on vehicle type and annual mileage.

Drivers can use the CO2 calculator to find out how much they would have to pay themselves – here are a few examples:

Incidentally, 21 tree seedlings are needed for the Range Rover. If five years of CO2 emissions are to be offset, the Range Rover driver would have to invest 2079 euros.

According to BayWa, a mixed forest will be planted in the “Climate Forest” project, which will cope better with the climate that is tending to become warmer. An example of such projects are the 3000 beech seedlings planted in the spring at Gut Dürrenmungenau in Middle Franconia.

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