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In 1988, CEO Roger Sant had a vision. His company, Applied Energy Services (now just AES), planned to build small powerplants around the United States, selling the electricity to local utilities. Roger Sant was environmentally inclined, and was concerned by the fact that the only technology that was economically viable for AES' business model was coal or gas-fired electricity. Sant approached the World Resources Institute in Washington D.C. with the question: "What can AES do to mitigate the climate impacts of building these power plants?" The answer was “offsets,” and working with WRI, AES started "offseting" the emissions of each powerplant it built.

While the fortunes of carbon offset markets, both voluntary and regulated, have fluctuated over time, carbon offsets appear poised for massive expansion as part of corporate efforts to achieve “net zero” emissions. The Climatographers have substantial expertise in the topic of carbon offsets, and almost all relevant topics are covered in-depth in the Climate Web. there are many questions about the future of carbon offsets, and the role carbon offsets will play in corporate and societal efforts to tackle climate change.

  • What does the evaluation literature say about the mitigation effectiveness of carbon offsets?
  • How will Carbon Offsets Round 2 differ from Round 1?
  • Would “scoring” carbon offsets fundamentally change offset markets?
  • Why do carbon offsets represent basic hypothesis testing?
  • How do carbon offset supplies relate to 2o C policies and measures?
  • How will Article 6 of the UNFCCC affect the integrity of carbon offset markets?
  • Will natural climate solutions, often facing permanence and leakage challenges, play a big role in future offset markets?
  • What will be the role of air capture and related technologies in offset markets?
  • What is the relationship of Net Zero objectives to using carbon offsets?

Key Carbon Offset Index Entries include:

Key Topical Headings for books, reports, and journal articles:

Key Topical Headings for news and opinion:

Key Topical Headings for extracted materials:

Key Topical Headings for Multimedia:

Key Topical Headings for websites, experts, and more:

Some additional links:

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The Premium Carbon Offsets Roadmap digs much deeper into the topics already flagged at the top of this page, among others. Representing hundreds of hours of research and knowledge curation, the Premium Roadmap links together together explanatory prose, topical headings, individual sources and news stories, curated topical dashboards for exploring key topics, and even individual ideas and graphics the Climatographers have extracted from a wide range of key sources. The Premium Carbon Offsets Roadmap covers topics including:

  • The history of carbon offsets since 1988
  • Testing for offset “additionality”
  • The role of offsets in the aviation and maritime sectors
  • The likelihood of “false positives” in offset markets?
  • Carbon offset projects and providers
  • Carbon offset mitigation potentials
  • Carbon offset critiques

To get beyond Carbon Offsets 101, and to take advantage of today’s collective knowledge when it comes to carbon pricing: access the Carbon Offsets Premium Roadmap here.

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