How green are economists?

Produced as part of the Advancing climate finance and investment CCCEP research programme theme

The market for voluntary carbon offsets has grown steadily in the last decade, yet it remains a very small niche. While 10% of greenhouse gas emissions generated by transportation are related to civil aviation, the use of offsets in this industry remains marginal for both leisure and business traveling. This paper exploits a unique dataset examining the decision to purchase carbon offsets at two academic conferences in environmental and ecological economics. We find that having the conference expenses covered by one’s institution increases the likelihood of offsetting, but practical and ethical reservations as well as personal characteristics and preferences also play an important role. We focus on the effect of objecting to the use of offsets and discuss the implications for practitioners and policy-makers. Based on our findings, we suggest that ecological and environmental economists should be more involved in the design and use of carbon offsets.