Buying and cancelling allowances as an alternative to offsets for the voluntary market: a preliminary review of issues

In recent years, businesses, local governments and individuals have set goals for reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases. In addition to directly reducing their own emissions, many of these entities have purchased carbon offsets to help achieve their mitigation goals. Yet establishing offset quality can be difficult, due to issues such as additionality, measurement, leakage, permanence, and verification. This paper explores scenarios under which, as an alternative to offsets, voluntary buyers could instead buy and cancel allowances from compliance markets. The purchase and cancellation of allowances reduces the available allowances in a cap-and-trade system,