Describes what would likely have happened without the offset purchase against which emissions reductions are measured. For example, if a project replaces an existing boiler with one that is more efficient, the baseline would be the emissions in the existing system and the emissions reductions are the difference in emissions between the new system and the old. However, if the current boiler is ready to be replaced, the baseline scenario is the boiler that would have been installed were it not for the offset-related funds.

Global Warming Potential (GWP)

Allows the climate impacts of different types of GHGs (CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, etc.) to be compared with one another by converting them all into a common metric - CO2-equivalents (CO2e). CO2e is based on the heat trapping warming potential of each GHG over a period of time, which accounts for the time the GHG is in the atmosphere and how well it traps heat while it is there. Since GWP equates to CO2, the GWP of CO2 is 1. If your project reduces emissions of another greenhouse gas, please convert the tons reduced of that gas to CO2e by multiplying the tonnes of greenhouse gases your project saves by the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report GWPs in this table. For example, the GWP of 10 tons of N2O is equal to the GWP of N2O - 265 - multiplied by 10 tons of N2O or 2,650 tons CO2e.


Occur when the reduction in emissions results from a reduction in a productive activity in one location, that causes an increase in that activity elsewhere. For example, projects that conserve forests by reducing timber harvesting in the project area can result in an increase in harvesting elsewhere to meet timber demand.


Synonymous with protocol. Defines the eligibility criteria, methods for estimating emissions reductions including the baseline scenario, and monitoring and reporting requirements for a defined project type or set of project types for generating offsets credits.

Offset projects

Offset projects reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon and are used to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. Compliance offsets are used by jurisdictions and regulated emitters to meet mandatory emissions targets. Voluntary offsets are available to institutions, companies, governments, and individuals that voluntarily choose to reduce their emissions. Each offset credit represents one ton of carbon dioxide equivalent reduced or sequestered.


Synonymous with methodology.