“The idea is simple: Someone else can withdraw what you deposit. More specifically, an emitter of a certain quantity of carbon dioxide can pay to compensate for it, leading to no net increase of heat-trapping gases. That compensation can come from planting trees that take in carbon dioxide as they grow, installing renewable energy that replaces fossil fuels, or destroying potent heat-trapping gases like nitrous oxide before they reach the atmosphere.
With an offset, you have an accounting mechanism that bridges greenhouse gas emitters with climate protectors. And offsets are now fueling a multibillion-dollar global market.
But to make a useful carbon offset, you have to consider four key factors.”