Offset credits won’t necessarily reflect real reductions in carbon emissions The federal government recently issued a consultation paper on one of its proposed climate change policies. If implemented, this policy is likely to increase carbon emissions, perhaps substantially. Sound confusing? Welcome to the world of carbon offsets. In theory, introducing a carbon offset system to the existing carbon-reduction mandates for large emitters is a clever idea. With an offset system, a firm that finds it costly to comply with the emissions mandate can pay another, unregulated actor, like a farmer or forest manager, to reduce emissions in its stead. Ideally, the same environmental target is achieved at a lower cost, creating an economic benefit to both offset buyers and sellers.