Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
January 2010

Sticking Points in Offsets Policy

Sticking Points in Offsets Policy

As the U.S. congressional debate about climate policy matures, the design of a carbon offsets program has become increasingly central to the debate. Offsets have attracted the support of a number of stakeholders because of their promise to provide low-cost, flexible compliance in a carbon trading scheme. They have also evoked a number of concerns in the political discourse, as stakeholders have made different judgments about how to balance the assurance of performance with the efficient administration of the program. This primer outlines and compares a range of policy options that would address key issues in offsets policy in a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system.