Wall Street Backers See Breakthrough Moment for Carbon Offsets

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After more than three decades on Wall Street — first at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and then at Bank of America Corp. — Tom Montag thought he’d seen most forms of financial wizardry. Then Hank Paulson asked him to tackle carbon offsets.

It was the summer of 2022, and the former US treasury secretary had recently taken the helm at TPG Inc.’s Rise Climate, the private-equity firm’s main green investment vehicle. Paulson wanted to build a new multimillion-dollar venture called Rubicon Carbon that buys up credits derived from funding forest projects or backing wind farms as a way to let polluters compensate for their own contributions to climate change. A burst of corporate pledges to address emissions had sent a niche market, still only worth about $1 billion today, into a full-fledged rally. TPG injected $300 million into Rubicon, Bank of America bought in, and JPMorgan Chase Co. joined as a strategic partner.