Purchase onsets—carbon credits that go beyond neutralizing a person’s or entity’s greenhouse gas emissions by restoring habitat and improving human well-being.
Carbon credits that individuals and companies purchase to “neutralize” their greenhouse gas emissions are called offsets. A credit represents one metric ton of emissions and can be bought or sold for an equivalent (1:1) reduction by a high-quality and verified activity that removes greenhouse gases from the air or avoids their production (see Offsets Nexus). Onsets go beyond neutralization, removing double, triple, or more amounts of greenhouse gases. The money is thus paid forward to a verified project that draws down additional emissions while also restoring land and improving people’s lives—also metrics of success. If hundreds of individuals and companies proactively purchased onsets, we would see measurable reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide, more food security, more secure cultural integrity, improved gender equity, and greater climate resilience.