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What It's Like: Climate Action Reserve

In What it's Like we ask people working in a variety of roles across the range of sustainability sectors to tell us about their organization, their work and their career path. In this edition of What it's Like, we hear from Max DuBuisson, Policy Director at Climate Action Reserve, a nonprofit carbon offset registry.

What is Climate Action Reserve's Mission and Core Strategy?

Our mission is to promote the use of market-based mechanisms to mitigate climate change. Our main strategy involves the creation of high-quality carbon offsets, serving both the voluntary carbon market and the CA compliance carbon market. We are also pursuing other opportunities to support this mission, such as a registry for required GHG mitigation activities under the CA Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and GHG impact assessments for investments (Climate Impact Score).

Tell us about your role.

I support the development, maintenance, and interpretation of methodologies for the creation of carbon offsets. As Policy Director I oversee a team of folks dedicated to ensuring rigor, transparency, and practicality in the rules and guidance we develop for project developers in the carbon market. We also engage in carbon policy work for external clients, such as the governments of Ontario and Quebec. A typical day includes a few internal meetings, checking in on ongoing initiatives, and external meetings, engaging with stakeholders on technical issues and business developments. My day also generally involves some technical work, usually with Excel spreadsheets, GIS analysis, or document review.

carbon offsets explained

How did you get the job- what has been your career path?

I joined the Reserve in 2008 as a Business Development Associate, after a fairly indirect path. I finished a BS in Biology from Davidson College in 2003 and promptly headed to Los Angeles, where I worked in retail for three years. After it became clear that I couldn’t land a science-related job without additional training, I entered the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara, where I completed a Masters of Environmental Science and Management, with a focus on eco-entrepreneurship and corporate environmental management. During that time I completed several internships, including the UCSB office of sustainable procurement, Pacific Gas & Electric, and as a research assistant to a professor. After a brief stint with a wind power development company, I landed at the Reserve.

Describe Climate Action Reserve's work culture- what's it like to work th