Greenhouse Gas Offsets: An Introduction to Core Elements of an Offset Rule

To support the greenhouse gas mitigation obligations of two recently permitted coal-fired power plant expansions, the Alberta government in Canada has committed to the development of a greenhouse gas (GHG) offset rule. To provide background information for rule makers, this report provides a brief and concise introduction to the various dimensions of offset history, theory and current practice with some special consideration of the challenges that are unique to GHGs. The report discusses three general models that can be adapted for Alberta companies to meet their GHG offset obligations and provides a brief glimpse of each. In addition, the report provides an overview of five key areas that must be addressed in making a credible offset rule – quantification, ownership, verification, indirect emission reductions, and vintage/banking issues.