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Carbon Offsets

Category: Carbon Offsets

Carbon Offsets

Summary

Carbon offsets are a voluntary form of trade where one entity can buy a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from a third party for money. Carbon offsets fund projects that reduce greenhouse gasses in a series of short term and long term. These projects range from reforestation to renewable energy investments. Carbon offsets are measured in terms of metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents and are different from RECs

Benefits

  • Easy short term solution to reach carbon neutrality.
  • When done correctly, offsets can fund sustainable projects worldwide.

Challenges

  • Offsets are hard to manage and measure and money may be lost to the middleman.
  • Additionality is hard to quantify.

Impacts

Greenhouse Gas Impact
Large
Economic Impact
Small Net Cost
Feasibility
Doable
Timeline
< 1 year
Maintenance
Low / None
Publicity
Hmm... Okay.

Greenhouse Gas Impact

On paper, offsets can mitigate a lot of CO2.  

Economic Impact

This is a purchase with no return on investment.

Feasibility

Easiest way to  remove responsibility away from the campus to a third party.  

Timeline

Offsets can be bought at any time. 

Maintenance

 Once paid for, it’s out of sight and out of mind.

Publicity

Campus users may not be well informed and many times offset programs can literally not exist.

Contact Experts

  • Ruby Woodside Senior Manager, Climate Programs Second Nature Contact