Alberta Carbon Offset System

What is an Offset?

A carbon offset is when one party receives credits for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and these credits can then be purchased by another party to "offset" their emissions levels. In everyday terms, this would be like someone paying for a plane ticket and then sponsoring preservation of a part of a rain forest to offset the emissions from the plane.

How does Alberta’s Offset System Work?

One option for large industrial emitters to comply with their reduction obligation under the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation is to purchase offset credits from other activities that have voluntarily reduced their emissions in Alberta.

To qualify for offset credits, projects must follow strict government approved protocols that ensure emissions reductions are real, demonstrable, and quantifiable, additional to what would have occurred otherwise and registered on the Alberta Emission Offset Registry. Once registered, the offsets can be sold to Alberta's large emitters that have not met their provincially mandated reduction obligation. The price facilities pay for the offsets is market driven so the price varies.

Allowing regulated facilities to use market-based compliance tools such as offsets creates incentive for Albertans from all areas of the economy to innovate and invest in activities that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions – from farmers to municipalities to small industry developers.

Infographic: How Alberta's Offset Credit System Works

Related Information

For more information on the offset credit system in Alberta, see:


Page Information

Updated: Aug 25, 2015