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The increasingly confusing offsetting menu

smokeThe Economist has an interesting column about the increasingly challenging task of figuring out what carbon offsetting scheme to go for. As the fledgling industry has taken off, all kinds of operators have entered town, ranging from the high quality to the somewhat shady:

“Quality is the offset market’s most pressing issue, according to a new study of the voluntary carbon market by Ecosystem Marketplace and New Carbon Finance. The report counted 14 third-party offset standards, and seven registries, few of which are more than a year old. Offset retailers that accredit and verify their own products according to proprietary standards at least double these totals. With the price of offsetting a tonne of CO2 ranging from 45 cents to $45, and growing fears of sharp practice by “carbon cowboys,” the industry needs guidance on quality.”

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