Making Sense of Carbon Offsets


Climate change is upon us. Rapid action is essential and individuals can make a significant difference. We each need to know our carbon footprint, and begin reducing it as soon as we can. But what do we do about emissions that we can’t avoid? Should we buy carbon offsets? Or do nothing but reduce and conserve?

So what actually are carbon offsets, why are they an important part of many emissions reduction approaches? How do offsets work, and how do they apply to individuals and households? What do you look for? What makes an offset? What is “additionality” and why is it so important? What are the major flaws of offsets, and how are they being addressed?

In 5 minutes, I will explain carbon offsets, their role in adressing climate change, how they are important to individuals, and address the controversy that doggedly follows them.

Ewan O'Leary

Affiliation CEO, Offset Collective, Inc. (Carbon Offset Startup) and Member, PDX Carbon Action Reduction Group

Ewan is a recovering management consultant, who is making amends for vast quantities of carbon dioxide emitted traversing the US visiting clients. He lived off-grid, at a hot spring resort in remote rural Colorado, until he was seduced by the promise of Portland. Ewan began his career in finance in South Africa, switched to technology after he discovered servers, and moved to the US in the last tech boom. He is the founder of Offset Collective, a green business startup that provides carbon solutions for climate-conscious consumers and a founding member of PDX CRAG, Portland’s first Carbon Reduction Action Group.