FAQs

Cool Effect 101

Think of us as a way to crowdfund the fight against climate change. We’re a non-profit dedicated to bringing the best carbon projects in the world to one platform. It’s never been easier to take action for Earth.

It sure is! As a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit (Tax ID 47-5068496), it’s easy for you to make your contribution to Cool Effect a tax deductible one.

Right here. Additionally, if you are looking for our 990 forms, click here for 2016 and click here for 2015.

Over 90% of your donation goes straight to projects that reduce greenhouse gases which are the major cause of climate change.

9.87% of each Cool Effect contribution is used to cover the following:

  • Credit Card Fee: 2%-4%
  • Registry fee (where applicable)
  • Research Fee: 1.5%
  • And the remainder goes towards a Cool Effect Administration Fee.

We don’t keep any of the credit card or registry fee.

Carbon Projects

On the Cool Effect platform, a “carbon project” is any existing project that verifiably reduces the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) entering the atmosphere. That could be anything from supporting wind-powered energy, reducing the amount of fuel required to cook dinner and heat homes, or protecting forests that balance our CO₂ and endangered species. Once they prove they are reducing GHG, they are awarded carbon credits which they can sell. The proceeds go to the growth of the project. The more they grow, the more deadly gases are kept from entering the atmosphere.

A carbon credit is a financial unit of measurement that represents the removal of one tonne (1,000 kg or 2,205 lbs) of carbon from the atmosphere.

A carbon offset is when a carbon credit compensates for emissions occurring elsewhere (via reduction, avoidance, or sequestering). Think of it as a simple way for you to counteract other less eco-friendly folks’ (or even your own) carbon emissions.

One common thread that connects all of the projects on Cool Effect is that they verifiably prevent greenhouse gases (GHGs) from reaching the atmosphere. Each project focuses on improving or developing carbon emissions reduction technology (such as cookstoves or biogas digesters). We also verify that all our projects are “additional.”

The concept of “additionality” is really important to us. This means that to qualify as a genuine carbon offset, the reductions achieved by a project need to be ‘additional’ to what would have happened if the project had not been carried out. The project is not awarded carbon credits for simply running a “green-friendly” business—only carbon credits from projects that are “additional to” the business-as-usual scenario represent a net environmental benefit. Your donations to additionality-focused projects like ours are reasons why we can verifiably claim that the amount of carbon being emitted into the atmosphere is being reduced.

So, basically: because these projects exist, the amount of carbon emissions entering the atmosphere is less than it would have been without them.

Carbon credits are issued by one of the world’s carbon standards, such as The Gold Standard, the Verified Carbon Standard or the Climate Action Reserve. Credits are only issued after the project has met all the requirements of the standard and been verified by a third-party verifier.

Cool Effect Carbon Projects

Every project on Cool Effect’s platform is triple-verified, starting with a review and verification from one of the world’s major carbon standards— the Gold Standard, the Verified Carbon Standard, Climate Action Reserve, American Carbon Registry, or the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism.

Once that’s complete, Global Offset Research, an independent subsidiary, verifies the project against a second set of international standards, such as those required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. From there, we review the project internally with a long checklist that includes questions such as:

  • Has the project been issued credits by a major carbon standard?
  • Is this project additional?
  • Is the science of the project verifiable?
  • Are the project’s financials in order?
  • Is the project being run by competent, experienced management?
  • Have we visited the project site (when possible)?

Once we have satisfactory answers to all of our questions and if all these criteria are met, the project can be considered officially verified and added to the Cool Effect platform.

By at least two of the above groups, yes.

Each project is monitored by the standard, an independent auditor and Global Offset Research each year. Global Offset Research has years of experience verifying and monitoring carbon projects and ensures that the project is proceeding as planned. Global Offset Research makes field visits to the projects as well to review their work on-site.

Our triple verification process is methodical, detailed, and time-consuming for a reason. We’ve vetted these projects using this process to ensure, without a doubt, that these projects are doing what they claim to do.

Every project, no matter how good it is, has challenges. We believe it’s important to present you with the full details on each project, even if those details include what the project is working to make better. We do this so supporters can see and understand what they are supporting and make informed choices about how to best protect the environment.

Of course! We send you quarterly updates like this on projects you’ve donated to.

Making A Donation

If a particular project appeals to you, simply select that project, pick the amount of tonnes you’d like to donate, and voilà, you’ve taken action for Earth.

If you’d rather share the wealth and donate equally over all our projects, that’s an option too. Just let us know how much you’d like to donate, and we’ll ensure that it’s distributed efficiently amongst our projects.

If you’re looking for a unique gift idea, you can also contribute to the fight against climate change on someone else’s behalf. Just visit our gift center to see how.

When you’re dealing with projects all around the world, you’re bound to run into some logistical differences. The projects featured on Cool Effect support different entrepreneurs in different parts of the world using different kinds of technology to cut emissions. These technologies also cost different amounts depending on up-front costs, maintenance costs, and the price of materials in that region of the world.

We currently accept credit cards and PayPal. You can also mail us a check or send a wire. We will confirm receipt of them all.

As of now, we do not have the ability to update credit cards in our system. For your security, we’ve chosen to not keep credit card numbers on file. If you have a new card, please create a new subscription using the card of your choice and cancel your current subscription by logging into your account and clicking on “manage subscriptions.”

Nope! When it comes to carbon tonnes, retirement is permanent. When you support a project featured on Cool Effect, we send the money to the project. Once these projects retire the carbon tonnes associated with your support, they cannot be unretired.

You should have received an email from community@cooleffect.org with your certificate attached. If it’s not there, check your spam folder, desktop and downloads. And if you still don’t see it, please write to us at info@cooleffect.org and we will be happy to help get you a new one!

Every single person on the planet is capable of taking active steps to reduce their carbon footprint—from the car you drive, to the lightbulbs you use, to the way you eat— even if it doesn’t involve a donation.

Gifts to Friends

You and the recipient should have received an email from gifts@cooleffect.org with your certificate attached. If it’s not there, check your spam folder, desktop and downloads. If you still don’t see it, please write to us at info@cooleffect.org.

It’s pretty easy for us to do, just let us know you need one! Drop us a line at info@cooleffect.org and we’ll send another your way.

Partnership Opportunities

Possibly! We partner with organizations of all shapes and sizes with all kinds of goals—from making businesses net neutral to offsetting travel, so we have tonnes (get it?) of turnkey solutions already in place. That being said, everybody’s different, so reach out to us at partners@cooleffect.org and we can tailor something specific that suits everyone’s needs. We love to collaborate, so write us today!

You bet! Hit us up at the above email (partners@cooleffect.org) and we’ll reach out to you within 24 hours, or at the very least, the next business day.

CO₂ and Climate Change

Carbon pollution refers to the amount of excess carbon generated and released into the Earth’s atmosphere. Since the Industrial Revolution, this amount has increased at a rate that’s led to a disruption of the natural carbon cycle.

Offsetting occurs when you take additional action (like donating to a Cool Effect project) that negates the carbon emissions you personally produce.

Humans emit carbon just by living, with Americans emitting approximately 17 tonnes of carbon pollution per year. You likely emit more or less depending on certain factors (air travel, home efficiency) but the average is a good place to start.

Having too much of something is never good—we’re approaching (if we aren’t already there) a plateau where CO₂ levels aren’t going to provide much of an added benefit to plant life. If anything, the increased heat and changing climate could create an environment detrimental to plant growth.

Convincing someone who actively chooses to ignore science and data can be a tricky thing, so your best bet before approaching that conversation would be to read up on the issue, keep your discussion polite (unless you don’t want to be friends with them after this) and come prepared with decent rebuttals to the most common talking points. Here’s a great place to start.

Visit our Why Carbon page with information on carbon emissions for the individual.

Still have a question? We love to chat. Write to us at info@cooleffect.org