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The price of carbon offsets can be quite perplexing. After all, a ton of carbon reduced is of benefit to the climate, regardless of where that reduction occurs or how it happens. If the benefit is the same, then why do carbon prices range from less than $1 to more than $15 per ton?
There are some striking, and perhaps surprising, similarities between purchasing offsets and purchasing automobiles. In practice, most models will get you from point A to point B, but there is a question of quality in how you want to get there. The following is a “blue book” guide to the inventory that can be found in the carbon market and why it’s priced the way it is.