If you wanted to offset the carbon emissions of a flight, you can buy carbon offsets from any number of providers. But the price for offsets done in different ways or certified under different standards can vary greatly.
Why? A new paper investigates.
Among the findings, providers located in Europe sell offsets at prices that are approximately 30 percent higher than providers located in either North America or Australasia. And, not surprisingly, offsets that qualify for emission reductions under the Kyoto Protocol, sell at a premium of more than 30 percent.
In theory, a project that avoids the emission of a tonne of greenhouse gas should give the same benefit (and have the same price) as the same as any other project that avoids the emission of a tonne of greenhouse gas. But of course you need to have confidence that this is actually what will happen and I'd guess that this is the difference: you're prepared to pay more if you're more confident that the advertised benefits are really being delivered.