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Energy vs Climate vs Offsets

Energy vs Climate vs Offsets

Carbon offsets. Some love 'em, some hate 'em, but regardless they form an integral part of carbon pricing systems around the world, including in Canada.

An offset in principle is paying someone else - a company, or a country - to reduce emissions that you yourself cannot, or simply will not reduce. What is the role of offsets in helping the world to avoid dangerous climate change? What's 'additionality' when it comes to offsets, and is it fundamental or merely an after thought? How are offset markets regulated to ensure integrity? And should you bother to click that "yes" button to offset your flight emissions?

On Season 4, Episode 6 of Energy vs Climate,  Sara, David and Ed tackle the thorny and always controversial topic of carbon offsets at Avatar Innovations at The Energy Transition Centre in downtown Calgary.


@1:10 EvC Live held at the Energy Transition Center, at the Ampersand

@2:02 Infidelity Offsets video from Climate Ad Project

@4:15 Business Renewable Centre of Canada

@4:48 Guide to Purchasing Carbon Offsets with Pembina Institute

@5:48 CDM mechanism to reduce emissions by developed countries - Kyoto Protocol

@10:05 Additionality, permanence, leakage 101

@23:09 Example of voluntary offsets

@24:30 Two flavours of offsets: Alberta Emissions Offset Registry and the Emissions Performance Credit Registry

@32:41 Discussion on the quality of voluntary offsets

@37:43 Gaming the system with low quality voluntary offsets

@53:50 Low-cost American airline, JetBlue, moving away from carbon offsets

About your co-hosts:

David Keith is a professor at Harvard in Engineering and the Kennedy School. He is the founder of Carbon Engineering and was formerly a professor at the University of Calgary. He splits his time between Canmore and Cambridge.

Sara Hastings-Simon studies energy transitions at the intersection of policy, business, and technology. She’s a policy wonk, a physicist turned management consultant, and a professor at the University of Calgary and Director of the Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Development.

Ed Whittingham is a clean energy policy/finance consultant, fellow at the Public Policy Forum and a mentor with the Creative Destruction Lab. He is the former executive director of the Pembina Institute.‌