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Carbon Offsets and Climate Change Mitigation

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Understanding Carbon Offsets, and Whether You Want to Buy or Invest In Them

What you’ll learn

  • Understand the 30+ year history of carbon offsets
  • Explore the definition of and key criteria for qualifying as a carbon offset
  • Understand why carbon offsets have proven to be so challenging and contentious
  • Understand the issues associated with buying or investing in carbon offsets
  • Explore the carbon offsets literature

Course content

2 total hours


  • No carbon offsets experience required, but the course also digs deeply into critical aspects of carbon offsets.


Carbon offsets have been a popular climate change mitigation option for individuals and companies alike, but they have also been very contentious. This course provides you with an in-depth understanding of what kind of commodity carbon offsets are, how they have evolved, the biggest challenges offsets have encountered when it comes to delivering climate change mitigation, and where offset markets might be headed next.  It answers several key questions:

  • What defines a carbon offset?

  • How long is long enough to demonstrate the permanence of carbon offsets?

  • How much leakage is too much when it comes to getting qualified as a carbon offset?

  • Why is additionality so important to the environmental integrity of carbon offsets?

  • Why is additionality so hard to get right, even with best efforts?

  • What’s the single most important thing that would improve the integrity of offset markets?

  • What’s the role of nature-based solutions in carbon offsets?

  • Where are carbon offset markets headed?

  • How can you dig deeper into carbon offsets on your own?

If you’re new to carbon offsets and carbon markets, or are considering purchasing or investing in carbon offsets, take advantage of this course to leverage thousands of hours of carbon offsets experience. Your instructor worked on the first carbon offset project 35 years ago, and many other offset projects since then. He is widely published on carbon offset topics including additionality and the environmental integrity of carbon offsets, and has spent thousands of hours curating carbon offsets information and knowledge in the Climate Web, a comprehensive climate change knowledge management solution developed over the last 10 years.   

Who this course is for:

  • Individuals and organizations considering purchasing or investing in carbon offsets
  • Anyone wanting to understand the evolution of carbon offsets over the last 30+ years
  • Anyone wanting to understand the current and potential roles of carbon offsets in mitigating climate change
  • Anyone interested in improving the environmental integrity of carbon offsets

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