State of the Debate: Critiques of Forest Carbon Credits

Thursday, September 22, 2022 - 11:30am

State of the Debate: Critiques of Forest Carbon Credits

Carbon offsets got their start 35 years ago as a way to encourage companies onto the slippery slope of acknowledging and responding to climate change.   Today, however, offsets are being widely characterized as critical to mitigating climate change. But carbon offsets have turned out to be very hard to get right when it comes to delivering on their climate change mitigation promise and could be doing more harm than good. Carbon offset market could be fixed, but the need for such fixes has been recognized for 20 years, and yet there has been almost no progress made. 

Dr. Mark Trexler - Developer, The Climate Web; Director, Climatographers

Dr. Mark C. Trexler worked on the first carbon offset project, an agroforestry project in Guatemala, after joining the World Resources Institute in Washington, DC, in 1988. Since then, he has participated in the development of or due diligence on dozens of forestry and other offset projects in the United States and around the world and has worked and published extensively on the environmental integrity of offset markets.

Mark started Trexler Climate + Energy Services (TC+ES) in 1991 as the first consulting firm in the United States to specialize in corporate climate change risk management. Working with clients from around the world TC+ES supported the first corporate GHG footprints, the first climate-neutral products and companies, and many of the first climate risk management strategies. Most recently, Mark was Director of Climate Risk for Det Norske Veritas (DNV), a global risk management firm operating in more than 90 countries around the world.

Mark is currently focused on building the Climate Web, a collective intelligence for understanding and tackling climate change. Mark’s M.P.P. (1982) and Ph.D. (1990) degrees are from UC Berkeley. He has worked and lived extensively abroad and speaks five languages. He is currently based in Portland, OR, and can be reached at