Skip to content

Support climate news that matters

Reader support keeps our work free. Donate now, and all gifts get matched through May 31.

Help us raise $50,000 by the end of May.

35%
Donate now

What's the deal with offsets?

The Waxman-Markey climate bill proposes more than a pure cap-and-trade scheme. It’s actually cap and trade and offset.

In This Series

  • Offsets remain off-putting to many experts intent on curbing CO2 emissions

    The massive climate and energy bill now working its way through Congress would create a multi-billion-dollar market in carbon offsets, giving owners of agricultural and forest land the opportunity to profit as companies seek to offset their carbon emissions. Offset quality — ensuring that an offset represents a genuine reduction in greenhouse gases — has […]

  • Biochar as the new black gold

    Special Series: What’s the deal with offsets?Photo illustration by Tom Twigg / GristImagine a system that can: (potentially) store billions of tons of carbon in soil for centuries; dramatically reduce agricultural waste, forest debris and some municipal solid waste, thus eliminating the production of greenhouse gases that result from their decomposition; generate energy to both […]

  • Offsets and Big Ag: Does the climate bill give away too much to the farm sector?

    Special Series: What’s the deal with offsets?Photo illustration by Tom Twigg / GristThe compliance market for offsets proposed under the House’s American Clean Energy and Security Act would not just mean more opportunity for companies already in the business of selling carbon offsets. It would also result in a major realignment in the types of […]

  • Pacific NW landowners team up to market forest offsets

    Owners of forestland in the Pacific NW could benefit more under a national carbon offsets system, as trees common to the region store more carbon per acre than East Coast species. Pictured: Douglas firs in an Oregon forest.Courtesy Ecotrust’s sbeebe via FlickrThough most people probably think of national parks when they think of forests, more […]

  • Key to climate bill, offsets have plenty of critics

    America’s first major stab at tackling global climate change comes in the form of the American Clean Energy Security Act, a massive piece of legislation that would touch nearly every corner of the U.S. economy. The bill, often referred to as “Waxman-Markey” after its principal sponsors in the House of Representatives, contains provisions for clean […]