A comparison of carbon offset standards - Making sense of the voluntary carbon market

Mar 2008

This report discusses the role of the voluntary carbon market and provides an overview of the most important currently available carbon offset standards.
Carbon offset markets exist both under compliance schemes and as voluntary programs. Compliance markets are created and regulated by mandatory regional, national, and international carbon reduction regimes, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme. Voluntary offset markets function outside of the compliance markets and enable companies and individuals to purchase carbon offsets on a voluntary basis. With more than € 20 billion traded in 2006, carbon markets are already a substantial economic force and will likely grow considerably over the coming years. The voluntary market, although much smaller than the compliance market, is also growing rapidly.
Carbon offset markets have been promoted as an important part of the solution to the climate crisis because of their economic and environmental efficiency and their potential to deliver sustainability co-benefits through technology transfer and capacity building.

By: A. Kollmuss (SEI-US), H. Zink (Tricorona), C. Polycarp (SEI-US)

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