Carbon offset programs are typically billed as an undo button for climate-harmful activities. You can, for example, pay extra for an airline ticket in order to fund the planting of trees to neutralize the harmful impact of the emissions generated by your flight.
It’s a well-intentioned idea, but it doesn’t always work. Offset programs are not well regulated, are plagued by accounting errors like double counting, and sometimes give credit where they arguably shouldn’t — for instance, for forest management activities that would be done whether or not the program existed. Then there is the moral hazard question: Might offset schemes encourage more emissions by making people and companies feel that they have permission to pollute?
The Seattle-based company Nori is trying to overcome these concerns. It is the first marketplace to sell offsets based exclusively on removing carbon dioxide from the air — and it’s doing it using blockchain technology. Nori will work with partners to verify that carbon’s been pulled out of the atmosphere and issue a Carbon Removal Certificate or CRC for every ton of CO2 sucked out of the atmosphere. Each of these CRCs... Read more