Carbon Offsets



Carbon Offsets, a Much-Criticized Climate Tool, Get Federal Guidelines

By Brad Plumer 05/28/24
The Biden administration on Tuesday laid out for the first time a set of broad government guidelines around the use of carbon offsets in an attempt to shore up confidence in a method for tackling…
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Are Flight Offsets Worth It?

By Susan Shain 05/06/24
In recent years, research has shown that many offset projects are ineffective or worse. But last we checked, people are still flying. A lot. And the planet is still warming. A lot.
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Inside the Controversy That’s Divided the Carbon Offsets Market

By Alastair Marsh and Ben Elgin 04/13/24
When the biggest funders and promoters of the $2 billion carbon offsets market assembled in London last month, the gathering was billed as a series of technical discussions on subjects such as emissions accounting.
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“Shameful”: Shell uses carbon credits under investigation to meet climate targets

By Matteo Civillini 02/02/24
Oil and gas giant Shell is counting discredited carbon credits towards its climate goals, drawing accusations of “bad faith” and “malintent”. Last month, Shell used rice farming carbon credits to offset a chunk of its…
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The University of California has all but dropped carbon offsets—and thinks you should, too

By James Temple 11/30/23
In the fall of 2018, the University of California (UC) tasked a team of researchers with identifying tree planting or similar projects from which it could confidently purchase carbon offsets that would reliably cancel out…
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The False Promise of Carbon Offsets

By Jessica F. Green 11/20/23
As the world prepares for the 28th round of global climate negotiations, which will take place in Abu Dhabi in late November, the climate crisis is intensifying. Wildfires, droughts, and other extreme weather events are…
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Carbon Offset Market Faces Chaos as African Mega-Project Collapses

By Ben Elgin and Natasha White 10/27/23
The integrity of one of the largest single sources of credits in the $2 billion carbon market faces serious doubt following the collapse of the partnership behind Kariba, a mega-project in Zimbabwe backed by the…
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Carbon Offsets: The Route to Net Zero or Corporate Greenwashing?

By Mike Grindle 10/18/23
Today, you don’t have to look far to find companies boasting about their plans to reach net zero or become carbon neutral. Amazon says it wants to reach net zero by 2040. Shell says they’ll…
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Infographic: How are carbon offsets supposed to work?

By Daisy Dunne and Josh Gabbatiss 09/25/23
Carbon offsets can be purchased by companies, governments or individuals seeking to meet a net-zero target or simply make a contribution to tackling climate change. This process is often presented as a simple transaction in…
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First Thing: Top carbon offset projects may not cut planet-heating emissions

By Nicola Slawson 09/20/23
The vast majority of the environmental projects most frequently used to offset greenhouse gas emissions appear to have fundamental failings, suggesting they cannot be relied upon to cut planet-heating emissions, according to an analysis.
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Billionaire Forrest’s Fortescue to Stop Using Carbon Offsets

By David Stringer 09/20/23
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., the world’s No. 4 iron ore producer and a major greenhouse gas emitter, is ending its use of voluntary carbon offsets.
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Europe’s Biggest Oil Company Quietly Shelves a Radical Plan to Shrink Its Carbon Footprint

By Alastair Marsh and Will Mathis 08/31/23
Six months after becoming the chief executive at Shell Plc, Wael Sawan quietly ended the world’s biggest corporate plan to develop carbon offsets, the environmental projects designed to counteract the warming effects of CO2 emissions.
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In-depth Q&A: Can ‘carbon offsets’ help to tackle climate change?

Every day, people are invited to buy products and services with supposed climate benefits – whether this be “carbon-neutral flights”, “net-zero beef” or “carbon-negative coffee”.

What is a Carbon Offset?

The terms carbon offset and carbon offset credit (or simply “offset credit”) are used interchangeably, though they can mean slightly different things. A carbon offset broadly refers to a reduction in GHG emissions – or…

How to Build a High-Integrity Voluntary Carbon Market – Innovate4Climate Fireside Chat

Fireside chat: Our chair Annette Nazareth was interviewed by Reuters’ editor-at-large, Axel Threlfall, for the World Bank Group’s Innovate4Climate, where they discussed ‘How to Build a High-Integrity Voluntary Carbon Market’.

New: The Core Carbon Principles Assessment Framework

The Integrity Council’s Core Carbon Principles Assessment Framework sets out the detailed criteria it will use to assess whether carbon-crediting programs and categories of carbon credits meet the Core Carbon Principles (CCPs). Carbon-crediting programs assessed…

Carbon Markets, Illustrated

limate change is an unprecedented global emergency. We must use all the tools at our disposal to ensure a positive future for people and nature. This includes a massive investment in decarbonization—as well unlocking the…

Carbon Offsets

Carbon offsets are tradable “rights” or certificates linked to activities that lower the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. By buying these certificates, a person or group can fund projects that fight climate…


What Are Carbon Offsets? Are They a Credible Climate Solution?

By Ben Elgin and Akshat Rathi   08/30/23  
You’ll hear lots of pledges from companies and governments to cut the greenhouse gases they release to “net-zero.” That’s because they need to completely halt their release of carbon emissions to avoid some of the…
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Carbon offsets aren’t helping the planet — four ways to fix them

By Philip W. Boyd and Others   08/29/23  
Reaching ‘net zero’ carbon emissions requires doing more than curbing greenhouse-gas emissions. Carbon dioxide must also be withdrawn from the air to compensate for continued releases from sectors in which emissions are hard to abate,…
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Carbon Offsets: Just Another Greenwashing Tool?

By Annie Gray   08/17/23  
If you want to get environmental advocates agitated, bring up carbon offsetting. It is among the most hotly debated climate solution efforts, with opinions fanned out on the spectrum from whole-heartedly for, entirely against, and…
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Voluntary carbon offsets are headed for a crash

By David Roberts   08/04/23  
whereby one party pays another party to reduce carbon emissions — are an extremely convenient thing to have for people, businesses, and institutions that have money to spend, want to do something green, and either…
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Are carbon offsets all they’re cracked up to be? We tracked one from Kenya to England to find out.

By Angus Chapman and Desné Masie   08/03/23  
Carbon offsets are suddenly everywhere. Long the domain of airlines and unimaginative bureaucrats, firms selling offsets have proliferated, promising a way for ordinary people and organizations in wealthy countries to fight climate change with the…
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Carbon offsets are ‘riddled with fraud.’ Can new voluntary guidelines fix that?

By Joseph Winters   08/02/23  
The idea behind voluntary carbon offsets seems simple enough: Project developers undertake some kind of activity to either prevent carbon emissions or remove them from the atmosphere, like building a solar farm or planting trees.…
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A giant Oregon wildfire shows the limits of carbon offsets in fighting climate change

By Hal Bernton   08/02/23  
In this patch of Southern Oregon forest, young stands of ponderosa and lodgepole pine once pulled carbon dioxide out of the air, storing this greenhouse gas in their trunks, branches and roots.
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Global benchmark for high-integrity carbon credits aims to mobilize climate finance at speed and scale

The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market today released its full global benchmark for high-integrity carbon credits, with the goal of maximizing the ability of the voluntary carbon market to support delivery of global…
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CFTC Announces Second Voluntary Carbon Markets Convening on July 19

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Rostin Behnam today released the agenda for the second voluntary carbon markets convening that will be held on July 19 at 11:30 a.m. (EDT) at the CFTC's headquarters in…
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Revealed: more than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets by biggest certifier are worthless, analysis shows

By Patrick Greenfield   01/18/23  
The forest carbon offsets approved by the world’s leading certifier and used by Disney, Shell, Gucci and other big corporations are largely worthless and could make global heating worse, according to a new investigation.
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The Rising Demand for Nature-based Climate Solutions

By Govind Bhutada   12/05/22  
The world’s forests are important carbon sinks that absorb a net 7.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) annually.
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Integrity Council Announces Timetable for New Voluntary Carbon Market Standards

The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (the Integrity Council), an independent governance body for the voluntary carbon market, announced today it will launch a definitive set of global threshold standards that will set…
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