In the quest for carbon offsets, (almost) anything goes

Originally published on April 15th, 2020 for GreenBiz.

Trying to understand carbon offsets is like stepping into quicksand. Ask one question, and you’ll end up with a dozen more. Every new term seems to have an entire world inside of it, filled with complications, nuances and metrics. You quickly can find yourself in over your head.

Honestly, as I labored to truly understand the world of offsets, the experts I spoke to looked and sounded exhausted. Some, even defeated. Many have steeped themselves in a complex, confusing world where they seem to spend most of their time explaining offsets rather than actually avoiding or drawing down greenhouse gas emissions, which is what offsets are intended to do.

But some of these same experts are also invigorated by the new sense of urgency and the changing attitude towards carbon offsets, and by the tantalizing prospects for acceleration brought about by a new administration in Washington, D.C.

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