Panel Discussion: 'The great carbon market debate: is it over for offsetting?'

Past Event

27 February 2024, 5:15pm - 6:30pm

Oxford Martin School & Online
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

Event Recording:

Critics and proponents of offsetting agree: achieving global net zero emissions is essential. But how we get there is up for debate.

Once hailed as a key solution to help individuals, organisations and governments achieve net zero emissions, offsetting approaches, and the carbon market underpinning them, have been plagued by bad actors, bad credits, and bad press.

But is the era of carbon offsetting over? Or could it still be reformed – not only offering a critical path to net zero, but also providing a necessary and efficient way to drive investment in mitigation projects, nature and sustainable livelihoods?

Finally, does the carbon market need offsetting, or could it still grow without selling "offsets"?

Join an expert panel of academics and practitioners as they discuss the future of net zero aligned carbon offsetting.


  • Professor Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystem Science, School of Geography and the Environment
  • Kaya Axelsson, Head of Policy and Partnerships, Oxford Net Zero, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
  • Sabine Frank, Executive Director, Carbon Market Watch
  • Lydia Sheldrake, Director of Policy and Partnerships, Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI)
  • Professor Mette Morsing (Chair), Director, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment

This is a joint event with The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment

Allen Myles 2015

Professor Myles Allen
Professor of Geosystem Science

Myles Allen is an Oxford Martin Senior Fellow on the Oxford Martin Programme on Net Zero Regulation and Policy and Professor of Geosystem Science in the School of Geography and the Environment and Department of Physics, University of Oxford. He served on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was a Coordinating Lead Author for its special report on ‘the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels’.

He is the Director of Oxford Net Zero, the University of Oxford’s interdisciplinary research initiative on net zero, and founded the Climate Prediction project, the world’s largest climate modelling experiment. Myles’ research concentrates on how human and natural influences contribute to observed climate change, as well as the risks of extreme weather and quantifying their implications for long-range climate forecasts.


Kaya Axelsson
Head of Policy and Partnerships, Oxford Net Zero

Kaya Axelsson is an Oxford Martin Senior Fellow on the Oxford Martin Programme on Net Zero Regulation and Policy and research fellow and Head of Policy and Partnerships at Oxford Net Zero where she leads a team to translate research into resources, policy, and standards for defining and achieving net zero.

After years working as a community organiser, Kaya moved to Oxford to work on connecting climate action communities internationally. She has earned distinction for her research on politically unlikely renewable energy coalitions. Her current research and engagement focus is on the emerging net zero governance and regulatory landscape. Kaya has served as a strategic advisor to the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign and as a technical author on the International Standard Organisation’s Net Zero Guidelines. With 15 years of experience in social and environmental sustainability, she convenes and works regularly with organisations and policy leaders on their net zero strategies.

Frank Sabine

Sabine Frank
Executive Director, Carbon Market Watch

Sabine Frank has been Executive Director at Carbon Market Watch (CMW) since January 2019. In her position, she ensures that the CMW team can contribute its critical analysis of carbon pricing policies to the political battle for the planet and humanity.

Before joining CMW, Frank worked for several foundations, notably the Schöpflin Stiftung as head of programme “Economy and Democracy” and looked at climate protection from the perspective of trade policy. Frank also has many years of leadership experience within NGOs at European level. She originally came to Brussels as an assistant to a British MEP and is a politics graduate of the Universities of Heidelberg and Durham.

Lydia cropped

Lydia Sheldrake
Director of Policy and Partnerships, Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI)

Lydia is Director of Policy and Partnerships at VCMI. She leads the team working on external communications, and engagement and collaboration with companies, governments, civil society and other initiatives involved with carbon markets.

Previously, at Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) Lydia advised on the design and delivery of programmes and tools designed to raise the bar on corporate climate action, including VCMI’s Provisional Claims Code of Practice.

Prior to CIFF, Lydia spent five years in Government representing the UK in international negotiations on climate and trade. In the run up to COP26, Lydia was Head of Voluntary Carbon Markets and led the UK Presidency support to establish VCMI as an independent multi-stakeholder initiative.

In private and non-profit sectors, Lydia has advised multinational corporations on environmental reporting and sustainable supply chains.

Mette morsing headshot

Professor Mette Morsing (Chair)
Director, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment

Professor Morsing is the Director of the Smith School. She's also a Fellow by Special Election at St Edmund Hall. Professor Morsing’s area of research expertise is organisation theory and corporate sustainability, with a focus on governance, strategy, communication, identity and cross-sector partnerships.

She is appointed to a number of international board/council memberships and honorary fellowships, including RSM Rotterdam School of Management (Holland), Kings College London (UK), Sasin School of Management (Thailand), RRBM Research for Responsible Research for Business and Management (USA), and Boards Impact Forum (Sweden).

She was previously the Head of the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME), UN Global Compact, in New York USA, a role she held from 2020-2023. She led the United Nation’s largest initiative on responsible management education with more than 800 business school and university signatories signed up to advance sustainability in leadership education. Previously, Professor Morsing held professorial positions at the Copenhagen Business School (Denmark), where she was the Founding Director of the Centre for Corporate Sustainability, and the Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden), where she was Executive Director of the Mistra Centre for Sustainable Markets (Misum).