OLS : Record


Main Title Climate change science observations on the potential role of carbon offsets in climate change legislation : testimony before the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, Committee on Science and Technology, House of Representatives / [electronic resource] :
Author Stephenson, John B.
Publisher U.S. Govt. Accountability Office,
Place Published Washington, D.C.
Year Published 2009
OCLC Number 312713883
Subject Added Ent Climatic changes--Law and legislation--United States.; Greenhouse gases--Law and legislation--United States.; Carbon dioxide mitigation--Law and legislation--United States.; Greenhouse gas mitigation--Law and legislation--United States.; United States--Climate--Law and legislation--Economic aspects.
Internet Access
Description Access URL
Library   Call Number Additional Info Location Date Modified
EJBM POD Internet only Headquarters Library/Washington,DC 03/09/2009
Collation [22] p. : digital, PDF file.
Notes Title from title screen (viewed March 6, 2009). "For release ... March 5, 2009." Paper version available from: U.S. Govt. Accountability Office, 441 G St., NW, Rm. LM, Washington, D.C. 20548. Includes bibliographical references.
Contents Notes In an August 2008 report, GAO identified four primary challenges related to the United States voluntary carbon offset market. First, the concept of a carbon offset is complicated because offsets can involve different activities, definitions, greenhouse gases, and time frames for measurement. Second, ensuring the credibility of offsets is challenging because there are many ways to determine whether a project is additional to a business-as-usual baseline, and inherent uncertainty exists in measuring emissions reductions relative to such a baseline. Related to this, the use of multiple quality assurance mechanisms with varying requirements may raise questions about whether offsets are fully fungible--interchangeable and of comparable quality. Third, including offsets in regulatory programs to limit greenhouse gas emissions could result in environmental and economic tradeoffs. For example offsets could lower the cost of complying with an emissions reduction policy, but this may delay on-site reductions by regulated entities. Fourth, offsets could compromise the environmental certainty of a regulatory program if offsets used for compliance lack credibility. In a November 2008 report, GAO examined the environmental and economic effects of the CDM--an international program allowing certain industrialized nations to pay for offset projects in developing countries--and identified lessons learned about the role of carbon offsets in programs to limit emissions. While the CDM has provided cost containment in a mandatory emissions reduction program, its effects on emissions are uncertain, largely because it is nearly impossible to determine the level of emissions that would have occurred in the absence of each project. Although a rigorous review process seeks to ensure the credibility of projects, available evidence from those with experience in the program suggests that some offset projects were not additional. In addition, the project approval process is lengthy and resource intensive, which significantly limits the scale and cost-effectiveness of emissions reductions. The findings from these two reports illustrate how challenges in the voluntary offset market and the use of offsets for compliance--even in a rigorous, standardized process like the CDM--may compromise the environmental integrity of mandatory programs to limit emissions and should be carefully evaluated. As a result of these challenges, GAO suggested that, as it considers legislation that allows the use of offsets for compliance, the Congress may wish to consider, among other things, directing the establishment of clear rules about the types of projects that regulated entities can use as offsets, as well as procedures to account and compensate for the inherent uncertainty associated with offset projects. Further, GAO suggested that the Congress consider key lessons from the CDM, including the possibility that, (1) due to the tradeoffs involving cost savings and the credibility of offsets, their use in mandatory programs may be, at best, a temporary solution to achieving emissions reductions, and (2) the program's approval process may not be a cost-effective model for achieving emission reductions.
Access Notes Mode of access: Internet from GPO Access web site.
Corporate Au Added Ent United States. Congress. House. Committee on Science and Technology (2007). Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.; United States. Government Accountability Office.
Alternate Title High quality greenhouse gas emissions data are a cornerstone of programs to address climate change
PUB Date Free Form 2009
Series Title Traced Testimony ; GAO-09-456T
BIB Level m
Medium electronic resource
OCLC Time Stamp 20090306120804
Cataloging Source OCLC/T
Language eng
SUDOCS Number GA 1.5/2:GAO-09-456T
Origin OCLC
Type CAT
OCLC Rec Leader 05435nam 2200457Ia 45020