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The Five Qualities of Carbon Offsets

There are five criteria for carbon offsets that are recognized by all climate bodies and are outlined by the World Resources Institute (WRI).

#1 Real

Offsets must represent one ton of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions that are reduced or sequestered as a result of an activity taken for that purpose.

#2 Permanent

Carbon offsets are considered permanent if they are not reversible.

#3 Additional

Additionality means that the carbon offsets were generated by activities that would not have occurred without a carbon marketplace as an incentive.

#4 Verifiable

Emission reductions and sequestration must be monitored and verified.

#5 Enforceable

Enforceable carbon offsets must be tracked and logged so that ownership is verifiable and an offset may only be sold once.