To stabilize global warming within the 1.5-2.0°C Paris Agreement goal,
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to reach net-zero. Offsetting is
required for net-zero emissions (emissions minus offsets), as achieving
zero emissions is unrealistic. Offset schemes differ widely in their
capacity to mitigate anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Rayer et al.
(2021) provide offsetting guidelines to strengthen their long-term
climate benefit, this chapter further develops this topic. We propose a
framework for rating different offset types based on their climate risk,
moving beyond the usual criteria of verification, audit, and
additionality. We apply our offset climate ratings to some offsetting
types and case studies including the sorts of schemes proposed by major
oil companies, and the PAS 2060 carbon-neutrality standard. Some offsets
provide little more than economic nudges towards emissions reduction.
Climate offsetting requirements are more exacting. The proposed
framework grades offsets from most to least benefit. Grades help
classify offsets’ climate risks based on: helping terminate it, slowing
warming, or only offering economic incentives with little climate
benefit. Ultimately, to stabilize global warming, it will be necessary
for policy to encourage the highest rated offsets under the proposed
framework. Reference Rayer, Q. G., Jenkins, S., & Walton, P. (2021).
Defining net-zero and climate recommendations for carbon offsetting. In
Walker, T., Wendt, S., Goubran, S., & Schwartz, T. (Eds.), Beyond the
2ºC: Business and Policy Trajectories to Climate Change Adaptation
(chapter 2). Palgrave Macmillan.