Rising acceptance that the world needs to cut carbon emissions fast has coincided with a parallel rise in ineffective solutions to the problem. There's now real danger that tools meant to slow global warming may end up allowing more emissions. A prime example of that risk is carbon offsets.
These promissory notes offer buyers an accounting power: Emitters of planet-warming pollution get to deduct emissions from their own ledgers simply by purchasing tons of carbon offsets sourced to projects elsewhere. That's a particularly attractive power to the thousands of corporations now setting net-zero plans.