Carbon Offset Research & Education

Second Nature

By Tim Stumhofer, Senior Program Associate, Greenhouse Gas Management Institute

(This article appears in the February, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

There is no shortage of opinions on the concept and application of carbon offsets. The fervent debate these wonky mitigation instruments whip up runs an impressive multidisciplinary gamut from questions of morality to marginal cost of abatement. But while offsets have spurred a prodigious volume of discussion, there is a striking dearth of plain English analysis breaking down the complex commodities. Correspondingly there are startlingly few resources that dig beneath the veneer of marketing statements or go beyond a simple rehashing of basic concepts and statistics. In the face of this information shortfall, researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) have shown notable leadership. Over the past few years SEI has published a valuable catalogue of clear, accessible, and rigorous reports on the technical bits (e.g., greenhouse gas accounting and other programmatic rules) that underpin offset programs. In an effort to make this information even more user-friendly and digestible, SEI translated these materials into an interactive website: Carbon Offset Research & Education (CORE).

A year and a half after its initial launch, SEI has partnered with the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute (GHGMI) to re-launch an updated CORE site to reflect recent program updates. In keeping with GHGMI’s mission to build the social and educational infrastructure necessary to enable climate change programs, the refreshed CORE site will offer concise up-to-date programmatic detail on the full range of voluntary and compliance offset standards. Please watch for these changes to be phased in over the coming weeks. In advance of these updates, the current iteration of the CORE site offers a timeless introduction to many of the fundamentals that serve as the basis for specific programmatic rules and approaches.

On behalf of the CORE team at GHGMI and SEI, I am pleased to highlight this refreshed resource to ACUPCC’s signatories and stakeholders. We believe the site is particularly relevant to the ACUPCC community both as a clearinghouse for detailed information on offsets and as an educational resource for climate and sustainability in the classroom.

The Greenhouse Gas Management Institute was founded in response to the growing demand for qualified greenhouse gas (GHG) professionals. The Institute has developed a technically rigorous GHG training curriculum authored by leading experts and delivered globally via an online e-learning portal and onsite workshops. The Institute’s mission is to train and develop a global community of experts with the highest standards of professional practice in measuring, accounting, auditing, and managing GHG emissions. This effort is critical to ensuring that market mechanisms and policy responses to climate change are effective and credible, as well as a valuable source of new green jobs. As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, the Institute is training individuals and developing programs to certify professionals to meet the highest standards of expertise and ethical conduct. For more see www.ghginstitute.org.

Carbon Offset Research & Education (CORE) is a joint production of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute. For more information please see: http://www.co2offsetresearch.org/policy/index.html.